Fractional anisotropy in white matter tracts of very-low-birth-weight infants

Jeroen Dudink, Maarten Lequin, Carola van Pul, Jan Buijs, Nikk Conneman, Johannes van Goudoever, Paul Govaert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Advances in neonatal intensive care have not yet reduced the high incidence of neurodevelopmental disability among very-low-birth-weight (VLBW) infants. As neurological deficits are related to white-matter injury, early detection is important. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) could be an excellent tool for assessment of white-matter injury.

OBJECTIVE: To provide DTI fractional anisotropy (FA) reference values for white-matter tracts of VLBW infants for clinical use.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We retrospectively analysed DTI images of 28 VLBW infants (26-32 weeks gestational age) without evidence of white-matter abnormalities on conventional MRI sequences, and normal developmental outcome (assessed at age 1-3 years). For DTI an echoplanar sequence with diffusion gradient (b = 1,000 s/mm(2)) applied in 25 non-collinear directions was used. We measured FA and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) of different white-matter tracts in the first 4 days of life.

RESULTS: A statistically significant correlation was found between gestational age and FA of the posterior limb of the internal capsule in VLBW infants (r = 0.495, P<0.01).

CONCLUSION: Values of FA and ADC were measured in white-matter tracts of VLBW infants. FA of the pyramidal tracts measured in the first few days after birth is related to gestational age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1216-23
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Radiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007


  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anisotropy
  • Brain
  • Brain Mapping
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight
  • Male
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated
  • Reference Values
  • Retrospective Studies


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