Diffusion Tensor MRI of the Corpus Callosum and Cognitive Function in Adults Born Preterm

Neuroreport. 2009 Mar 4;20(4):424-8. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e328325a8f9.


Very preterm birth (before 33 weeks gestation) is associated with the white matter damage, and a common sequel is reduced size and altered shape of the corpus callosum. We used diffusion tensor MRI to assess the corpus callosum in 63 very preterm and 45 term-born young adults. Indices of white matter microstructure [fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD)] were obtained for the genu, body and splenium. Very preterm females had higher MD in the genu than term-born females, indicating altered white matter microstructure. This was associated with lower performance IQ. The groups demonstrated different patterns of correlations between verbal learning and tract-specific FA and MD, consistent with the reorganization of white matter structure in adults born very preterm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anisotropy
  • Cognition*
  • Corpus Callosum / anatomy & histology*
  • Corpus Callosum / physiology*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Intelligence / physiology
  • Learning / physiology
  • Male
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Young Adult