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White matter analysis of the extremely preterm born adult brain

Irzan, H; Molteni, E; Hütel, M; Ourselin, S; Marlow, N; Melbourne, A; (2021) White matter analysis of the extremely preterm born adult brain. Neuroimage , 237 , Article 118112. 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118112. Green open access

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Abstract

The preterm brain has been analysed after birth by a large body of neuroimaging studies; however, few studies have focused on white matter alterations in preterm subjects beyond infancy, especially in individuals born at extremely low gestation age - before 28 completed weeks. Neuroimaging data of extremely preterm young adults are now available to investigate the long-term structural alterations of disrupted neurodevelopment. We examined white matter hierarchical organisation and microstructure in extremely preterm young adults. Specifically, we first identified the putative hubs and peripheral regions in 85 extremely preterm young adults and compared them with 53 socio-economically matched and full-term born peers. Moreover, we analysed Fractional Anisotropy (FA), Mean Diffusivity (MD), Neurite Density Index (NDI), and Orientation Dispersion Index (ODI) of white matter in hubs, peripheral regions, and over the whole brain. Our results suggest that the hierarchical organisation of the extremely preterm adult brain remains intact. However, there is evidence of significant alteration of white matter connectivity at both the macro- and microstructural level, with overall diminished connectivity, reduced FA and NDI, increased MD, and comparable ODI; suggesting that, although the spatial configuration of WM fibres is comparable, there are less WM fibres per voxel. These alterations are found throughout the brain and are more prevalent along the pathways between deep grey matter regions, frontal regions and cerebellum. This work provides evidence that white matter abnormalities associated with the premature exposure to the extrauterine environment not only are present at term equivalent age but persist into early adulthood.

Type: Article
Title: White matter analysis of the extremely preterm born adult brain
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118112
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118112
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Brain development, Brain microstructure, Diffusion MRI, Graph theory, Long-term prematurity outcome, Prematurity, Structural connectome, White matter
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health > Neonatology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Med Phys and Biomedical Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10129088
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