Quantitative tract-based white matter development from birth to age 2years

Department of Psychiatry, 229 Medical School Wing B, University of North Carolina, School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, USA.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.36). 03/2012; 61(3):542-57. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.03.057
Source: PubMed


Few large-scale studies have been done to characterize the normal human brain white matter growth in the first years of life. We investigated white matter maturation patterns in major fiber pathways in a large cohort of healthy young children from birth to age two using diffusion parameters fractional anisotropy (FA), radial diffusivity (RD) and axial diffusivity (RD). Ten fiber pathways, including commissural, association and projection tracts, were examined with tract-based analysis, providing more detailed and continuous spatial developmental patterns compared to conventional ROI based methods. All DTI data sets were transformed to a population specific atlas with a group-wise longitudinal large deformation diffeomorphic registration approach. Diffusion measurements were analyzed along the major fiber tracts obtained in the atlas space. All fiber bundles show increasing FA values and decreasing radial and axial diffusivities during development in the first 2years of life. The changing rates of the diffusion indices are faster in the first year than the second year for all tracts. RD and FA show larger percentage changes in the first and second years than AD. The gender effects on the diffusion measures are small. Along different spatial locations of fiber tracts, maturation does not always follow the same speed. Temporal and spatial diffusion changes near cortical regions are in general smaller than changes in central regions. Overall developmental patterns revealed in our study confirm the general rules of white matter maturation. This work shows a promising framework to study and analyze white matter maturation in a tract-based fashion. Compared to most previous studies that are ROI-based, our approach has the potential to discover localized development patterns associated with fiber tracts of interest.

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    • "It is therefore not surprising that previous work has revealed that this core network is particularly susceptible to the damaging effects of alcohol exposure during development (). Imaging infants remains technically difficult in terms of both imaging acquisition and the inherent challenges in reliably analyzing data from brains that are small and have high water content and poor gray–white matter differentiation (Geng et al., 2012;Gilmore et al., 2012;Hagmann et al., 2012). Subject motion has been identified as a potential source of artifactual group differences in RS-fMRI connectivity , particularly for pediatric samples (Power et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Children exposed to alcohol in utero demonstrate reduced white matter microstructural integrity. While early evidence suggests altered functional brain connectivity in the lateralization of motor networks in school-age children with prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE), the specific effects of alcohol exposure on the establishment of intrinsic connectivity in early infancy have not been explored. Methods: Sixty subjects received functional imaging at 2 to 4 weeks of age for 6 to 8 minutes during quiet natural sleep. Thirteen alcohol-exposed (PAE) and 14 age-matched control (CTRL) participants with usable data were included in a multivariate model of connectivity between sensorimotor intrinsic functional connectivity networks. Seed-based analyses of group differences in interhemispheric connectivity of intrinsic motor networks were also conducted. The Dubowitz neurological assessment was performed at the imaging visit. Results: Alcohol exposure was associated with significant increases in connectivity between somatosensory, motor networks, brainstem/thalamic, and striatal intrinsic networks. Reductions in interhemispheric connectivity of motor and somatosensory networks did not reach significance. Conclusions: Although results are preliminary, findings suggest PAE may disrupt the temporal coherence in blood oxygenation utilization in intrinsic networks underlying motor performance in newborn infants. Studies that employ longitudinal designs to investigate the effects of in utero alcohol exposure on the evolving resting-state networks will be key in establishing the distribution and timing of connectivity disturbances already described in older children.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research
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    • "They also demonstrated different trajectories of gray and white matter development . Numerous studies have since been published based on an expansion of this cohort, which have characterized parameters such as local gray matter growth (Gilmore et al. 2012), fiber tract maturation (Geng et al. 2012) and cortical gyrification (Li et al. 2014a, b). As important as these studies are, the intervals between scans were quite large and only 60 % of the children had scans at all three time points. "
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    ABSTRACT: We have longitudinally assessed normative brain growth patterns in naturalistically reared Macaca mulatta monkeys. Postnatal to early adulthood brain development in two cohorts of rhesus monkeys was analyzed using magnetic resonance imaging. Cohort A consisted of 24 rhesus monkeys (12 male, 12 female) and cohort B of 21 monkeys (11 male, 10 female). All subjects were scanned at 1, 4, 8, 13, 26, 39, and 52 weeks; cohort A had additional scans at 156 weeks (3 years) and 260 weeks (5 years). Age-specific segmentation templates were developed for automated volumetric analyses of the T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging scans. Trajectories of total brain size as well as cerebral and subcortical subdivisions were evaluated over this period. Total brain volume was about 64 % of adult estimates in the 1-week-old monkey. Brain volume of the male subjects was always, on average, larger than the female subjects. While brain volume generally increased between any two imaging time points, there was a transient plateau of brain growth between 26 and 39 weeks in both cohorts of monkeys. The trajectory of enlargement differed across cortical regions with the occipital cortex demonstrating the most idiosyncratic pattern of maturation and the frontal and temporal lobes showing the greatest and most protracted growth. A variety of allometric measurements were also acquired and body weight gain was most closely associated with the rate of brain growth. These findings provide a valuable baseline for the effects of fetal and early postnatal manipulations on the pattern of abnormal brain growth related to neurodevelopmental disorders.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Brain Structure and Function
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    • "Previous studies indicated that FA has the ability to reflect the complicated information of WM development including water content, axonal growth and myelination [37]–[39]. In this study we showed that R2* values in the deep WM increased with PMA and FA, indicating that R2* could reflect WM maturation in infants. "
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    ABSTRACT: Iron deposition and white matter (WM) maturation are very important for brain development in infants. It has been reported that the R2* and phase values originating from the gradient-echo sequence could both reflect the iron and myelination. The aim of this study was to investigate age-related changes of R2* and phase value, and compare their performances for monitoring iron deposition and WM maturation in infant brains. 56 infants were examined by enhanced T2 star weighted angiography (ESWAN) and diffusion tensor imaging in the 1.5T MRI system. The R2* and phase values were measured from the deep gray nuclei and WM. Fractional anisotropy (FA) values were measured only in the WM regions. Correlation analyses were performed to explore the relation among the two parameters (R2* and phase values) and postmenstrual age (PMA), previously published iron concentrations as well as FA values. We found significantly positive correlations between the R2* values and PMA in both of the gray nuclei and WM. Moreover, R2* values had a positive correlation with the iron reference concentrations in the deep gray nuclei and the FA in the WM. However, phase values only had the positive correlation with PMA and FA in the internal capsule, and no significant correlation with PMA and iron content in the deep gray nuclei. Compared with the phase values, R2* may be a preferable method to estimate the iron deposition and WM maturation in infant brains.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · PLoS ONE
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