Alterations in frontostriatal pathways in children born very preterm
Article first published online: 16 JUL 2013
© 2013 Mac Keith Press
Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology
Volume 55, Issue 10, pages 952–958, October 2013
How to Cite
Duerden, E. G., Card, D., Lax, I. D., Donner, E. J. and Taylor, M. J. (2013), Alterations in frontostriatal pathways in children born very preterm. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 55: 952–958. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.12198
- Issue published online: 9 SEP 2013
- Article first published online: 16 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 APR 2013
- Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Grant Number: CIHR MOP-81161
Children born very preterm (<32wks' gestation) are at risk of white matter injury, particularly in frontostriatal pathways that mediate executive functioning. However, it is unclear whether very preterm children without evidence of neonatal brain injury manifest long-term white matter microstructural differences once they reach school age and if this is related to cognitive impairments.
Twenty school-aged children born very preterm (11 males, nine females; mean age 8y 6mo, standard error [SE] 1.68mo, range 7y 7mo–9y 6mo; gestational age range 24–30wks, mean gestational age 26.9wks, SE 0.4wk; birthweight 988g, SE 46g, range 570–1424g) without evidence of neonatal brain injury, and 20 sex- and age-matched term-born children (mean age 8y 4.8mo, SE 1.92mo; range 7y 2mo–9y-10.8mo) underwent neurodevelopmental assessment and diffusion tensor imaging.
Fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity, axial diffusivity, and radial diffusivity were calculated within all white matter pathways and within frontostriatal projections. Children born preterm had decreased fractional anisotropy in the territories of the left external capsule, superior longitudinal fasciculus, uncinate fasciculus, and inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus. Measures of intelligence were negatively correlated with frontostriatal fractional anisotropy only in males born preterm.
Results indicate that very preterm-born children exhibit white matter disturbances that persist into middle childhood, with potential sex differences in the association between these white matter alterations and cognitive function.