Diffusion Tensor MR Imaging Tractography of the Pyramidal Tracts Correlates with Clinical Motor Function in Children with Congenital Hemiparesis

Department of Radiology, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0628, USA.
American Journal of Neuroradiology (Impact Factor: 3.59). 10/2007; 28(9):1796-802. DOI: 10.3174/ajnr.A0676
Source: PubMed


Children with congenital hemiparesis have greater asymmetry in diffusion parameters of the pyramidal tracts compared with control subjects. We hypothesized that the asymmetry correlates with the severity of hemiparesis and that diffusion metrics would be abnormal in the affected tracts and normal in the unaffected tracts.
Fifteen patients with congenital hemiparesis and 17 age-matched control subjects were studied with diffusion tensor MR imaging tractography. Hemipareses were scored as mild, moderate, or severe. We measured tract-specific diffusion parameters (fractional anisotropy, mean, and directional diffusion coefficients) of the pyramidal tracts. We compared tract-specific parameters and asymmetry between the right and left tracts of the differing severity groups and control subjects.
We observed many different causes of congenital hemiparesis including venous infarction, arterial infarction, and polymicrogyria. Clinical severity of hemiparesis correlated with asymmetry in fractional anisotropy (P < .0001), transverse diffusivity (P < .0001), and mean diffusivity (P < .03). With increasing severity of hemiparesis, fractional anisotropy decreased (P < .0001) and transverse diffusivity (P < .0001) and mean diffusivity (P < .02) increased in the affected pyramidal tract compared with controls. Diffusion metrics in the unaffected tract were similar to those in the control subjects.
Asymmetry in fractional anisotropy, transverse diffusivity, and mean diffusivity, as well as the degree of abnormality in the actual values of the affected pyramidal tracts themselves, correlates with the severity of motor dysfunction in infants and children with congenital hemiparesis from different causes. This suggests that abnormalities detected by diffusion tensor MR imaging tractography in the affected pyramidal tract are related to the functional ability of the affected pyramidal tract, regardless of the etiology of motor dysfunction.

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Available from: Jeffrey I Berman, Jan 06, 2014
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    • "In an isotropic circumstance, water molecules move randomly, but in white matter tracts, water molecules move along the axons of neurons anisotropically. Therefore, DTI can visualize specific white matter tracts of the central nervous system, and it has been widely used for research and clinical purposes in physiologic or pathologic conditions.14,15,16 "
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose To achieve maximal safe resection during brain tumor surgery, functional image-merged neuronavigation is widely used. We retrospectively reviewed our cases in which diffusion tensor image (DTI)-merged functional neuronavigation was performed during surgery. Materials and Methods Between November 2008 and May 2010, 123 patients underwent surgery utilizing DTI-merged neuronavigation. Anatomical magnetic resonance images (MRI) were obtained preoperatively and fused with DTI of major white matter tracts, such as the corticospinal tract, optic radiation, or arcuate fasciculus. We used this fused image for functional neuronavigation during brain tumor surgery of eloquent areas. We checked the DTI images together with postoperative MRI images and evaluated the integrity of white matter tracts. Results A single white matter tract was inspected in 78 patients, and two or more white matter tracts were checked in 45 patients. Among the 123 patients, a grossly total resection was achieved in 90 patients (73.2%), subtotal resection in 29 patients (23.6%), and partial resection in 4 patients (3.3%). Postoperative neurologic outcomes, compared with preoperative function, included the following: 100 patients (81.3%) displayed improvement of neurologic symptoms or no change, 7 patients (5.7%) experienced postoperative permanent neurologic deterioration (additional or aggravated neurologic symptoms), and 16 patients (13.0%) demonstrated transient worsening. Conclusion DTI-merged functional neuronavigation could be a useful tool in brain tumor surgery for maximal safe resection. However, there are still limitations, including white matter tract shift, during surgery and in DTI itself. Further studies should be conducted to overcome these limitations.
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    • "Both diffusion MRI and tractography have previously been used to investigate CP in paediatric populations (see Scheck et al., 2012 for a systematic review). Perhaps not surprisingly, the corticospinal tract – the major descending motor pathway in the brain – has been the most frequent target of tractography investigations in CP (Chang et al., 2012; Chaturvedi et al., 2012; Glenn et al., 2007; Holmström et al., 2011; Hoon et al., 2002; Koerte et al., 2011; Rha et al., 2012; Rose et al., 2011; Son et al., 2007, 2009; Thomas et al., 2005; Trivedi et al., 2010; Yoshida et al., 2010), with a recently increased interest in ascending sensory pathways (Chaturvedi et al., 2012; Hoon et al., 2002; Rha et al., 2012; Rose et al., 2011; Thomas et al., 2005; Trivedi et al., 2010; Yoshida et al., 2010). Other projection, association and commissural pathways have been investigated less frequently (Koerte et al., 2011; Thomas et al., 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Cerebral palsy (CP) is a term to describe the spectrum of disorders of impaired motor and sensory function caused by a brain lesion occurring early during development. Diffusion MRI and tractography have been shown to be useful in the study of white matter (WM) microstructure in tracts likely to be impacted by the static brain lesion. Aim The purpose of this study was to identify WM pathways with altered connectivity in children with unilateral CP caused by periventricular white matter lesions using a whole-brain connectivity approach. Methods Data of 50 children with unilateral CP caused by periventricular white matter lesions (5–17 years; manual ability classification system [MACS] I = 25/II = 25) and 17 children with typical development (CTD; 7–16 years) were analysed. Structural and High Angular Resolution Diffusion weighted Images (HARDI; 64 directions, b = 3000 s/mm2) were acquired at 3 T. Connectomes were calculated using whole-brain probabilistic tractography in combination with structural parcellation of the cortex and subcortical structures. Connections with altered fractional anisotropy (FA) in children with unilateral CP compared to CTD were identified using network-based statistics (NBS). The relationship between FA and performance of the impaired hand in bimanual tasks (Assisting Hand Assessment—AHA) was assessed in connections that showed significant differences in FA compared to CTD. Results FA was reduced in children with unilateral CP compared to CTD. Seven pathways, including corticospinal, thalamocortical, and fronto-parietal association pathways were identified simultaneously in children with left and right unilateral CP. There was a positive relationship between performance of the impaired hand in bimanual tasks and FA within the cortico-spinal and thalamo-cortical pathways (r2 = 0.16-0.44; p < 0.05). Conclusion This study shows that network-based analysis of structural connectivity can identify alterations in FA in unilateral CP, and that these alterations in FA are related to clinical function. Application of this connectome-based analysis to investigate alterations in connectivity following treatment may elucidate the neurological correlates of improved functioning due to intervention.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Clinical neuroimaging

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