Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Scopus Web of Science® Altmetric
Type: Journal article
Title: Long-term development of white matter fibre density and morphology up to 13 years after preterm birth: a fixel-based analysis
Author: Kelly, C.E.
Thompson, D.K.
Genc, S.
Chen, J.
Yang, J.Y.
Adamson, C.
Beare, R.
Seal, M.L.
Doyle, L.W.
Cheong, J.L.
Anderson, P.J.
Citation: NeuroImage, 2020; 220:117068-117068
Publisher: Elsevier
Issue Date: 2020
ISSN: 1053-8119
Statement of
Claire E.Kelly, Deanne K.Thompson, Sila Genc, Jian Chen, Joseph YM.Yang, Chris Adamson ... et al.
Abstract: Background It is well documented that infants born very preterm (VP) are at risk of brain injury and altered brain development in the neonatal period, however there is a lack of long-term, longitudinal studies on the effects of VP birth on white matter development over childhood. Most previous studies were based on voxel-averaged, non-fibre-specific diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measures, such as fractional anisotropy. In contrast, the novel diffusion MRI analysis framework, fixel-based analysis (FBA), enables whole-brain analysis of microstructural and macrostructural properties of individual fibre populations at a sub-voxel level. We applied FBA to investigate the long-term implications of VP birth and associated perinatal risk factors on fibre development in childhood and adolescence. Methods Diffusion images were acquired for a cohort of VP (born <30 weeks' gestation) and full-term (FT, ≥37 weeks' gestation) children at two timepoints: mean (SD) 7.6 (0.2) years (n ​= ​138 VP and 32 FT children) and 13.3 (0.4) years (n ​= ​130 VP and 45 FT children). 103 VP and 21 FT children had images at both ages for longitudinal analysis. At every fixel (individual fibre population within an image voxel) across the white matter, we compared FBA metrics (fibre density (FD), cross-section (FC) and a combination of these properties (FDC)) between VP and FT groups cross-sectionally at each timepoint, and longitudinally between timepoints. We also examined associations between known perinatal risk factors and FBA metrics in the VP group. Results Compared with FT children, VP children had lower FD, FC and FDC throughout the white matter, particularly in the corpus callosum, tapetum, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, fornix and cingulum at ages 7 and 13 years, as well as the corticospinal tract and anterior limb of the internal capsule at age 13 years. VP children also had slower FDC development in the corpus callosum and corticospinal tract between ages 7 and 13 years compared with FT children. Within VP children, earlier gestational age at birth, lower birth weight z-score, and neonatal brain abnormalities were associated with lower FD, FC and FDC throughout the white matter at both ages. Conclusions VP birth and concomitant perinatal risk factors are associated with fibre tract-specific alterations to axonal development in childhood and adolescence.
Keywords: Diffusion imaging
Magnetic resonance imaging
White matter
Rights: © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117068
Grant ID:
Appears in Collections:Dentistry publications

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
hdl_133139.pdfPublished version2.13 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.