In Vivo Mapping of Fiber Pathways in the Rhesus Monkey Brain

Sabine Hofer*, 1, 2, Jens Frahm1
1 Biomedizinische NMR Forschungs GmbH am Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie, 37070 Göttingen, Germany
2 Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, 37073 Göttingen, Germany

© 2008 Hofer and Frahm

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Biomedizinische NMR Forschungs GmbH, D-37070 Göttingen, Germany; Tel: +49-551-201-1735; Fax: +49-551-201-1307; E-mail:


The study of complex fiber systems in relation to the cognitive abilities of humans is a long-standing challenge for neuroscientists. With the development of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) it is now possible to visualize large fiber bundles non-invasively. The existing knowledge of the white matter architecture largely stems from either lesion studies of human patients or, in more detail, tracer injection studies of non-human primates. Hence, it seems mandatory to compare DTI results with histochemical findings obtained for the same species. Using a geometrically undistorted DTI technique and fiber tractography, we examined the fiber anatomy of the macaque brain in vivo and related the results to fiber pathways previously identified in monkeys with conventional tract tracing. The approach identified multiple fiber tracts including the main association and projection pathways as well as fibers of the limbic system, commissural system, optic system, and cerebellar system. In conclusion, in vivo fiber tractography based on current-state DTI allows for a comprehensive analysis of major fiber pathways in the intact macaque brain.

Keywords: MRI, diffusion tensor imaging, fiber tractography, macaque brain.