Cerebellar injury in preterm infants

Handb Clin Neurol. 2018:155:49-59. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-64189-2.00003-2.


Although preterm birth is best known to result in adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes through injury of the supratentorial structures, including intraventricular hemorrhage and periventricular leukomalacia, the cerebellum has become increasingly recognized as an important target for injury and adverse motor and cognitive outcomes. Undergoing the most dramatic growth during the preterm period, the cerebellum is vulnerable to large and small hemorrhages, as well as hypoplasia resulting from a number of potentially modifiable risk factors. These factors include contact with intraventricular blood, crossed cerebrocerebellar diaschisis, postnatal glucocorticoid exposure, pain and opioid exposure, nutrition and somatic growth, cardiorespiratory factors, and socioeconomic status. Strategies targeting these factors may result in prevention of the motor and cognitive deficits seen after cerebellar hemorrhage or hypoplasia.

Keywords: cerebellum; developmental outcome; glucocorticoids; hemorrhage; pain; preterm birth.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebellar Diseases / complications*
  • Cerebellar Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebellum / abnormalities*
  • Cerebellum / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Developmental Disabilities / diagnostic imaging
  • Developmental Disabilities / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / physiopathology*