DTI of commissural fibers in patients with Chiari II-malformation

Neuroimage. 2009 Jan 15;44(2):306-11. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.09.006. Epub 2008 Sep 24.


Chiari II-malformation is a complex congenital deformity of the brain which is frequently associated with hydrocephalus. Abnormalities of the corpus callosum are known to occur in the majority of patients. The objective of the present study was to study the microstructure of the corpus callosum (CC) and the anterior commissure (AC) to differentiate between different mechanisms of damage to these structures. We investigated 6 patients with Chiari II-malformation and 6 well-matched healthy volunteers employing T1-weighted 3D imaging and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to determine the fractional anisotropy (FA) and cross-sectional area of the CC and AC, as well as with neuropsychological testing. Four patients showed hydrocephalus, two patients had callosal dysplasia and four had a hypoplastic CC. The callosal FA in the patients was significantly reduced which was less pronounced for the genu alone. The area of CC was also reduced in Chiari II-patients. There was a strong correlation between the size and FA of the CC in the patients. In contrast, the thickness of the AC was significantly increased and was associated with higher FA in the patients. In psychological tests all patients showed reduced verbal memory; all but one patient showed reduced IQ as well as impaired visuo-spatial performance, indicating deficits in tasks requiring parieto-occipital integration. The existence of callosal dysplasia in two patients, the diminished FA reduction in the genu and the correlation of the cross-sectional area and FA in the patients point to a developmental white matter damage beside that exerted by hydrocephalus alone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Algorithms
  • Budd-Chiari Syndrome / pathology*
  • Corpus Callosum / pathology*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Male
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / pathology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Septal Nuclei / pathology*
  • Young Adult