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Maturation of thalamic radiations between 34 and 41 weeks3 gestation: a combined voxel-based study and probabilistic tractography with diffusion tensor imaging

By A. Aeby, Y. Liu, X. De Tiège, V. Denolin, P. David, M. Kavec, T. Metens and P. Van Bogaert


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: This study aimed to investigate brain maturation along gestational age with diffusion tensor imaging in healthy preterm and term neonates. Therefore, a voxel-based study of fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (Dav) was performed to reveal the brain regions experiencing microstructural changes with age. With tractography, the authors intended to identify which fiber tracts were included in these significant voxels. MATERIALS ANDMETHODS: There were 22 healthy preterm and 6 healthy term infants who underwent MR imaging between 34 and 41 weeks of gestation. A statistical parametric approach was used to evidence the effect of age on regional distribution of FA and Dav values. The fiber tracts suspected to be included in the significant clusters of voxels were identified with neuroanatomy and tractography atlases, reconstructed with probabilistic tractography, and superimposed on the parametric maps. RESULTS: Parametric analysis showed that FA increases with age in the subcortical projections from the frontal (motor and premotor areas) and parietal cortices, the centrum semiovale, the anterior and posterior arms of the internal capsules, the optic radiations, the corpus callosum, and the thalami (P .05, corrected). Superimposition of the parametric maps on tractography showed that the corticospinal tract (CST); the callosal radiations (CR); and the superior, anterior, and posterior thalamic radiations were included in the significant voxels. No statistically significant results were found for Dav maps

Year: 2009
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