Quantitative Characterization of the Human Retinotopic MapBased on Quasiconformal Mapping
Duyan Ta, Yanshuai Tu, Zhong-Lin Lu, Yalin Wang
The retinotopic map depicts the cortical neurons’ response to visual stimuli on the retina and has contributed significantly to our understanding of human visual system. Although recent advances in high field functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have made it possible to generate the in vivo retinotopic map with great detail, quantifying the map remains challenging. Existing quantification methods do not preserve surface topology and often introduce large geometric distortions to the map. In this study, we developed a new framework based on computational conformal geometry and quasiconformal Teichmüller theory to quantify the retinotopic map. Specifically, we introduced a general pipeline, consisting of cortical surface conformal parameterization, surface-spline-based cortical activation signal smoothing, and vertex-wise Beltrami coefficient-based map description. After correcting most of the violations of the topological conditions, the result was a “Beltrami coefficient map” (BCM) that rigorously and completely characterizes the retinotopy map by quantifying the local quasiconformal mapping distortion at each visual field location. The BCM provided topological and fully reconstructable retinotopic maps. We successfully applied the new framework to analyze the V1 retinotopic maps from the Human Connectome Project (n=181), the largest state of the art retinotopy dataset currently available. With unprecedented precision, we found that the V1 retinotopic map was quasiconformal and the local mapping distortions were similar across observers. The new framework can be applied to other visual areas and retinotopic maps of individuals with and without eye diseases, and improve our understanding of visual cortical organization in normal and clinical populations.