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Morphological regionalization using fetal magnetic resonance images of normal developing brains

Authors

  • Hui-Hsin Hu,

    1. Department of Biomedical Imaging and of Radiological Sciences, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, China
    2. Integrated Brain Research Laboratory, Department of Medical Research and Education, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, China
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  • Wan-Yuo Guo,

    1. Department of Radiology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, China
    2. Faculty of Medicine, School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, China
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  • Hui-Yun Chen,

    1. Department of Biomedical Imaging and of Radiological Sciences, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, China
    2. Integrated Brain Research Laboratory, Department of Medical Research and Education, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, China
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  • Po-Shan Wang,

    1. The Neurological Institute, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan, China
    2. Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University Taipei, Taiwan, China
    3. The Neurological Institute, Taipei Municipal Gan-Dau Hospital, Taiwan, China
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  • Chih-I Hung,

    1. Department of Biomedical Imaging and of Radiological Sciences, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, China
    2. Integrated Brain Research Laboratory, Department of Medical Research and Education, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, China
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  • Jen-Chuen Hsieh,

    1. Integrated Brain Research Laboratory, Department of Medical Research and Education, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, China
    2. Institute of Brain Science, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, China
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  • Yu-Te Wu

    1. Department of Biomedical Imaging and of Radiological Sciences, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, China
    2. Integrated Brain Research Laboratory, Department of Medical Research and Education, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, China
    3. Institute of Brain Science, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, China
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Prof. Y.-T. Wu, as above.
E-mail: ytwu@ym.edu.tw

Abstract

Regional differences in human brain development during infancy have been studied for many years, but little is known about how regionalization of the brain proceeds during intrauterine life. We investigated the regionalization of cerebral volume and cortical convolutions based on the volumetric magnetic resonance images (MRIs) of 43 fetuses, ranging from 21 to 37 weeks of gestation. Two plausible parcellations of MRI are proposed, and curvature index together with gyrification index are used to quantify the regional cortical convolutions. Our results elucidate that the cortical foldings among different brain regions develop at comparable rates, suggesting a similar uniformity of changes in size of the cortical sheet in these regions over time. On the contrary, the growth of the cerebral volume presents regional difference, with the frontal and parieto-temporal regions growing significantly faster than other regions due to the contribution from expansion of basal ganglia. This quantitative regional information suggests that cerebral volume is not a relevant parameter to measure in relation to gyrification, and that the size of the cortical sheet is more likely to be directly related to cortical folding. The availability of quantitative regional information on normal fetal brains in utero will allow clinical application of this information when probing neurodevelopmental disorders in the future.

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