Evaluating the relationship between memory functioning and cingulum bundles in acute mild traumatic brain injury using diffusion tensor imaging

J Neurotrauma. 2010 Feb;27(2):303-7. doi: 10.1089/neu.2009.1110.


Compromised memory functioning is one of the commonly reported cognitive sequelae seen following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has been shown to be sufficiently sensitive at detecting early microstructural pathological alterations after mTBI. Given its location and shape, the cingulate, which is comprised of the cingulate gyrus (gray matter) and cingulum bundles (white matter), is selectively vulnerable to mTBI. In this study we examined the integrity of cingulum bundles using DTI, and the relationship between cingulum bundles and memory functioning. Twelve adolescents with mTBI and 11 demographically-matched healthy controls were studied. All participants with mTBI had a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 15, and were without intracranial findings on CT scan. Brain scans were performed on average 2.92 days post-injury, and all participants were administered the Verbal Selective Reminding Test (VSRT), an episodic verbal learning and memory task. Participants with mTBI had a significantly lower apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) bilaterally than controls (p < 0.001). Despite the marginal significance of the group difference in fractional anisotropy (FA), the effect size between groups was moderate (d = 0.66). Cognitively, healthy controls performed better than the TBI group on immediate and delayed recall; however, the difference did not reach statistical significance. In the mTBI group, FA of the left cingulum bundle was significantly correlated with 30-min delayed recall (r = -0.56, p = 0.05). A marginally significant correlation was found between ADC of the left cingulum bundle and the total words of immediate recall (r = 0.59, p = 0.07). No significant correlation was found between DTI metrics and memory functioning for the control group. These preliminary findings indicate that cingulate injury likely contributes to the cognitive sequelae seen during the early phase post-mTBI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain Injuries / complications*
  • Brain Injuries / pathology*
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Memory Disorders / etiology