Abnormal Left-Hemispheric Sulcal Patterns Correlate with Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in Subjects with Single Ventricular Congenital Heart Disease

Cereb Cortex. 2020 Mar 21;30(2):476-487. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhz101.


Neurodevelopmental abnormalities are the most common noncardiac complications in patients with congenital heart disease (CHD). Prenatal brain abnormalities may be due to reduced oxygenation, genetic factors, or less commonly, teratogens. Understanding the contribution of these factors is essential to improve outcomes. Because primary sulcal patterns are prenatally determined and under strong genetic control, we hypothesized that they are influenced by genetic variants in CHD. In this study, we reveal significant alterations in sulcal patterns among subjects with single ventricle CHD (n = 115, 14.7 ± 2.9 years [mean ± standard deviation]) compared with controls (n = 45, 15.5 ± 2.4 years) using a graph-based pattern-analysis technique. Among patients with CHD, the left hemisphere demonstrated decreased sulcal pattern similarity to controls in the left temporal and parietal lobes, as well as the bilateral frontal lobes. Temporal and parietal lobes demonstrated an abnormally asymmetric left-right pattern of sulcal basin area in CHD subjects. Sulcal pattern similarity to control was positively correlated with working memory, processing speed, and executive function. Exome analysis identified damaging de novo variants only in CHD subjects with more atypical sulcal patterns. Together, these findings suggest that sulcal pattern analysis may be useful in characterizing genetically influenced, atypical early brain development and neurodevelopmental risk in subjects with CHD.

Keywords: brain development; congenital heart disease; magnetic resonance imaging; neurodevelopment; sulcal pattern.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cerebrum / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebrum / pathology*
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / complications*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / genetics
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders / etiology*
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders / pathology
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders / psychology
  • Neuropsychological Tests