Validation of Olfactory Network Based on Brain Structural Connectivity and Its Association With Olfactory Test Scores.
Fjaeldstad AW., Stiller-Stut F., Gleesborg C., Kringelbach ML., Hummel T., Fernandes HM.
Olfactory perception is a complicated process involving multiple cortical and subcortical regions, of which the underlying brain dynamics are still not adequately mapped. Even in the definition of the olfactory primary cortex, there is a large degree of variation in parcellation templates used for investigating olfaction in neuroimaging studies. This complicates comparison between human olfactory neuroimaging studies. The present study aims to validate an olfactory parcellation template derived from both functional and anatomical data that applies structural connectivity (SC) to ensure robust connectivity to key secondary olfactory regions. Furthermore, exploratory analyses investigate if different olfactory parameters are associated with differences in the strength of connectivity of this structural olfactory fingerprint. By combining diffusion data with an anatomical atlas and advanced probabilistic tractography, we found that the olfactory parcellation had a robust SC network to key secondary olfactory regions. Furthermore, the study indicates that higher ratings of olfactory significance were associated with increased intra- and inter-hemispheric SC of the primary olfactory cortex. Taken together, these results suggest that the patterns of SC between the primary olfactory cortex and key secondary olfactory regions has potential to be used for investigating the nature of olfactory significance, hence strengthening the theory that individual differences in olfactory behaviour are encoded in the structural network fingerprint of the olfactory cortex.