Preterm infants with isolated cerebellar hemorrhage show bilateral cortical alterations at term equivalent age

Sci Rep. 2020 Mar 24;10(1):5283. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-62078-9.


The cerebellum is connected to numerous regions of the contralateral side of the cerebrum. Motor and cognitive deficits following neonatal cerebellar hemorrhages (CbH) in extremely preterm neonates may be related to remote cortical alterations, following disrupted cerebello-cerebral connectivity as was previously shown within six CbH infants. In this retrospective case series study, we used MRI and advanced surface-based analyses to reconstruct gray matter (GM) changes in cortical thickness and cortical surface area in extremely preterm neonates (median age = 26; range: 24.9-26.7 gestational weeks) with large isolated unilateral CbH (N = 5 patients). Each CbH infant was matched with their own preterm infant cohort (range: 20-36 infants) based on sex and gestational age at birth. On a macro level, our data revealed that the contralateral cerebral hemisphere of CbH neonates did not show less cortical thickness or cortical surface area than their ipsilateral cerebral hemisphere at term. None of the cases differed from their matched cohort groups in average cortical thickness or average cortical surface area in the ipsilateral or contralateral cerebral hemisphere. On a micro (i.e. vertex) level, we established high variability in significant local cortical GM alteration patterns across case-cohort groups, in which the cases showed thicker or bigger volume in some regions, among which the caudal middle frontal gyrus, insula and parahippocampal gyrus, and thinner or less volume in other regions, among which the cuneus, precuneus and supratentorial gyrus. This study highlights that cerebellar injury during postnatal stages may have widespread bilateral influence on the early maturation of cerebral cortical regions, which implicate complex cerebello-cerebral interactions to be present at term birth.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Damage, Chronic / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / etiology
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / pathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cerebral Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology*
  • Dominance, Cerebral
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Gray Matter / diagnostic imaging
  • Gray Matter / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / pathology*
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / complications
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / pathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neuroimaging
  • Retrospective Studies