DeepRGVP: A Novel Microstructure-Informed Supervised Contrastive Learning Framework for Automated Identification Of The Retinogeniculate Pathway Using dMRI Tractography

The retinogeniculate pathway (RGVP) is responsible for carrying visual information from the retina to the lateral geniculate nucleus. Identification and visualization of the RGVP are important in studying the anatomy of the visual system and can inform treatment of related brain diseases. Diffusion MRI (dMRI) tractography is an advanced imaging method that uniquely enables in vivo mapping of the 3D trajectory of the RGVP. Currently, identification of the RGVP from tractography data relies on expert (manual) selection of tractography streamlines, which is time-consuming, has high clinical and expert labor costs, and affected by inter-observer variability. In this paper, we present what we believe is the first deep learning framework, namely DeepRGVP, to enable fast and accurate identification of the RGVP from dMRI tractography data. We design a novel microstructure-informed supervised contrastive learning method that leverages both streamline label and tissue microstructure information to determine positive and negative pairs. We propose a simple and successful streamline-level data augmentation method to address highly imbalanced training data, where the number of RGVP streamlines is much lower than that of non-RGVP streamlines. We perform comparisons with several state-of-the-art deep learning methods that were designed for tractography parcellation, and we show superior RGVP identification results using DeepRGVP.

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