Fiber tracking at term displays gender differences regarding cognitive and motor outcome at 2 years of age in preterm infants

Pediatr Res. 2011 Dec;70(6):626-32. doi: 10.1203/PDR.0b013e318232a963.


White matter microstructural changes can be detected with diffusion tensor imaging. It was hypothesized that diffusion parameters in the posterior limb of the internal capsule (PLIC) and corpus callosum (CC) bundles in preterm infants at term equivalent age (TEA) were associated with neurodevelopment at 2 y corrected age. In 67 preterm infants, fiber tracking was performed at TEA for the CC and both PLIC bundles. Volume, length, fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity, axial diffusivity, and radial diffusivity were determined for the three bundles. These parameters were assessed in relation to outcome on the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development III. In girls, volume and length of the CC bundle and right PLIC bundle volume were associated with cognition. In boys, volume, FA, mean and radial diffusivity, and length of the left PLIC were associated with fine motor scores. Correction for GA, birth weight, intraventricular hemorrhage, white matter injury, and maternal education did not change the results. Fiber tracking parameters in the PLIC and CC bundles in preterm infants at TEA revealed different associations with neurodevelopment between boys and girls. This study suggested that fiber tracking is a useful method to predict neurodevelopment in preterm infants.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anisotropy
  • Cerebral Ventricles
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Corpus Callosum / ultrastructure*
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Internal Capsule / ultrastructure*
  • Leukomalacia, Periventricular / diagnostic imaging*
  • Linear Models
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / ultrastructure*
  • Sex Factors
  • Ultrasonography