Purpose To evaluate whether patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1)-a multisystem neurodevelopmental disorder with myriad imaging manifestations, including focal transient myelin vacuolization within the deep gray nuclei, brainstem, and cerebellum-exhibit differences in cortical and subcortical structures, particularly in subcortical regions where these abnormalities manifest. Materials and Methods In this retrospective study, by using clinically obtained three-dimensional T1-weighted MR images and established image analysis methods, 10 intracranial volume-corrected subcortical and 34 cortical regions of interest (ROIs) were quantitatively assessed in 32 patients with NF1 and 245 age- and sex-matched healthy control subjects. By using linear models, ROI cortical thicknesses and volumes were compared between patients with NF1 and control subjects, as a function of age. With hierarchic cluster analysis and partial correlations, differences in the pattern of association between cortical and subcortical ROI volumes in patients with NF1 and control subjects were also evaluated. Results Patients with NF1 exhibited larger subcortical volumes and thicker cortices of select regions, particularly the hippocampi, amygdalae, cerebellar white matter, ventral diencephalon, thalami, and occipital cortices. For the thalami and pallida and 22 cortical ROIs in patients with NF1, a significant inverse association between volume and age was found, suggesting that volumes decrease with increasing age. Moreover, compared with those in control subjects, ROIs in patients with NF1 exhibited a distinct pattern of clustering and partial correlations. Discussion Neurofibromatosis type 1 is characterized by larger subcortical volumes and thicker cortices of select structures. Most apparent within the hippocampi, amygdalae, cerebellar white matter, ventral diencephalon, thalami and occipital cortices, these neurofibromatosis type 1-associated volumetric changes may, in part, be age dependent.
Advances in neuroimaging, developmental biology and molecular genetics have increased the understanding of developmental disorders affecting the midbrain and hindbrain, both as isolated anomalies and as part of larger malformation syndromes. However, the understanding of these malformations and their relationships with other malformations, within the central nervous system and in the rest of the body, remains limited. A new classification system is proposed, based wherever possible, upon embryology and genetics. Proposed categories include: (i) malformations secondary to early anteroposterior and dorsoventral patterning defects, or to misspecification of mid-hindbrain germinal zones; (ii) malformations associated with later generalized developmental disorders that significantly affect the brainstem and cerebellum (and have a pathogenesis that is at least partly understood); (iii) localized brain malformations that significantly affect the brain stem and cerebellum (pathogenesis partly or largely understood, includes local proliferation, cell specification, migration and axonal guidance); and (iv) combined hypoplasia and atrophy of putative prenatal onset degenerative disorders. Pertinent embryology is discussed and the classification is justified. This classification will prove useful for both physicians who diagnose and treat patients with these disorders and for clinical scientists who wish to understand better the perturbations of developmental processes that produce them. Importantly, both the classification and its framework remain flexible enough to be easily modified when new embryologic processes are described or new malformations discovered.
Cerebellar injury has been increasingly recognized as a complication of preterm birth, with decreased cerebellar volumes seen on follow-up neuroimaging. A cohort of 38 preterm newborns, including 14 with two scans, was studied with MRI, including single-shot fast spin-echo diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) sequence specifically to assess the posterior fossa. Early changes in the cerebellum [apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA)] were assessed and correlated with supratentorial manifestations of injury [intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) or white matter injury (WMI)]. ADC decreased and FA increased with increasing gestational age in both cerebellar gray and white matter. Severe IVH was associated with increased ADC in the middle cerebellar peduncles and hila of the cerebellar nuclei, decreased ADC in the cerebellar cortex, and decreased FA in all three regions. Changes with WMI were not consistent. Significant developmental changes in water diffusion were seen in cerebellar gray and white matter that were altered in patients with supratentorial IVH. DTI studies may provide an early indicator for cerebellar injury and abnormal cerebellar development in preterm neonates.
We report two cases of fetal cerebellar hemorrhage in the setting of parvovirus-associated hydrops fetalis and fetal blood transfusion. In both cases, the cerebellar hemorrhage was diagnosed by fetal magnetic resonance imaging after intrauterine blood transfusion. To our knowledge, this is the first report of fetal cerebellar hemorrhage in the setting of parvovirus-associated hydrops fetalis, and may be the result of cerebrovascular changes both during and after the transfusion.
This report describes the case of an 11-year-old girl with a prior history of epilepsy and multiple episodes of status epilepticus who presented with generalized convulsive status epilepticus and left hemiclonic seizures. Magnetic resonance imaging, including diffusion-weighted sequences and spectroscopy, and neuropathology at autopsy were consistent with excitotoxic neuronal injury to the hippocampus, cortex, thalamus, mammillary bodies, and cerebellum. Review of the literature revealed 11 similar cases that support the hypothesis of excitotoxic neuronal cell death after status epilepticus.
We sought to categorize the structural brain anomalies associated with abnormalities of the corpus callosum and anterior and hippocampal commissures in a large cohort. Brain MR images of adult and pediatric patients from our institution and from a national support organization (the ACC Network) were retrospectively evaluated for the type and severity of commissural anomalies and the presence and type of other structural abnormalities. Of 142 cases that were reviewed, 82 patients had agenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC), while 60 had hypogenesis of the corpus callosum (HCC). Of the overall cohort, almost all had reduced white matter volume outside the commissures, the majority had malformations of cortical development (most commonly heterotopia or abnormal sulcation), many had noncallosal midline anomalies (including abnormal anterior or hippocampal commissures and interhemispheric cysts and lipomas), and several patients had abnormalities of the cerebellum or brainstem. Sixty-six patients had Probst bundles, which were more common in patients with ACC than in those with HCC. Probst bundles were present in all four patients who had ACC or HCC but no other midline, cortical, or posterior fossa anomalies. Isolated commissural anomalies were rare in the populations of patients examined. Most cases of ACC and HCC were associated with complex telencephalic, diencephalic, or rhombencephalic malformations. Reduced cerebral hemispheric white matter volume and malformations of cortical development were seen in more than half of the patients, suggesting that many commissural anomalies are part of an overall cerebral dysgenesis. ACC and HCC appear to lie along a dysgenetic spectrum, as opposed to representing distinct disorders.
Neurocutaneous melanosis (NCM) is a rare congenital neurocutaneous syndrome characterized by large or multiple congenital melanocytic nevi and benign or malignant melanocytic tumors of the leptomeninges. The authors report the case of a 5-month-old girl with congenital giant melanocytic nevi who presented with symptomatic hydrocephalus. A right frontal ventriculostomy was performed in the patient. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated melanocyte accumulation within the hippocampi, medulla, and cerebellum. Cerebrospinal fluid cytology revealed no presence of melanocytes. A ventriculoperitoneal shunt was placed; the patient's neurological condition improved and she was discharged home in good condition. The diagnosis of neurocutaneous melanosis should be considered in a case in which an infant or child presents with hydrocephalus and either large or multiple (> or = 3) congenital melanocytic nevi. Although our patient's neurological status improved following treatment for hydrocephalus, there is no definitive therapy for NCM and symptomatic patients have a poor prognosis. Our case illustrates to the neurosurgeon the importance of recognizing the likelihood of underlying pathological conditions of the central nervous system in a child with cutaneous melanocytic nevi.
Joubert syndrome is a rare genetic neurologic disorder associated with hypoplasia or absence of the cerebellar vermis. The classic form is characterized by ataxia, hypotonia, eye movement abnormalities, developmental delay, and abnormal breathing patterns. In contrast, other patients have the additional feature of kidney cysts. This population could represent a distinct form of Joubert syndrome. One case of Joubert syndrome with subcortical neuroepithelial cysts was recently described. We report a new case of Joubert syndrome with overlapping features, including diffuse progressive central nervous system neuroepithelial cysts and kidney cysts. Our data suggest that neuroepithelial cysts occur in conjunction with Joubert syndrome associated with kidney cysts.
Polymicrogyria is a common malformation of cortical development characterized by an excessive number of small gyri and abnormal cortical lamination. Multiple syndromes of region-specific bilateral symmetric polymicrogyria have been reported. We previously have described two families with bilateral frontoparietal polymicrogyria (BFPP), an autosomal recessive syndrome that we mapped to a locus on chromosome 16q12-21. Here, we extend our observations to include 19 patients from 10 kindreds, all linked to the chromosome 16q locus, allowing us to define the clinical and radiological features of BFPP in detail. The syndrome is characterized by global developmental delay of at least moderate severity, seizures, dysconjugate gaze, and bilateral pyramidal and cerebellar signs. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated symmetric polymicrogyria affecting the frontoparietal regions most severely, as well as ventriculomegaly, bilateral white matter signal changes, and small brainstem and cerebellar structures. We have refined our genetic mapping and describe two apparent founder haplotypes, one of which is present in two families with BFPP and associated microcephaly. Because 11 of our patients initially were classified as having other malformations, the syndrome of BFPP appears to be more common than previously recognized and may be frequently misdiagnosed.
Because of improved visualization of posterior fossa structures with MR imaging, cerebellar malformations are recognized with increasing frequency. Herein we attempt to describe and propose a rational classification of cerebellar malformations. MR images obtained in 70 patients with cerebellar malformations were retrospectively reviewed. The cerebellar malformations were initially divided into those with hypoplasia and those with dysplasia. They were then divided into focal and diffuse malformations. Finally, they were separated according to other features, such as brain stem involvement and cerebral involvement. All patients with diffuse cerebellar dysplasia (muscular dystrophy [n = 10], cytomegalovirus [n = 6], lissencephaly [n = 3],) had abnormalities of the cerebrum. Patients with focal cerebellar dysplasia of the Joubert (n = 12) and rhombencephalosynapsis (n = 8) types had variable cerebral dysplasia. Patients with nonsyndromic focal cerebellar dysplasia (isolated focal cerebellar cortical dysplasia [n = 2], cerebellar heterotopia with cerebellar cortical dysplasia [n = 1], idiopathic diffuse cerebellar dysplasia [n = 1], Lhermitte-Duclos syndrome [n = 1]) and those with cerebellar hypoplasia (isolated cerebellar hypoplasia [n = 6], pontocerebellar hypoplasia type 1 [n = 1]) had normal cerebra. Patients with features of Dandy-Walker malformation (n = 19) had both hypoplasia and dysplasia of the cerebellum. No notable difference was found between the cerebella of patients with large fourth ventricle cysts (Dandy-Walker malformations) and those without large fourth ventricle cysts (isolated cerebellar hypoplasia). Therefore, the Dandy-Walker malformation seems to be heterogeneous. Use of this classification system helps in the segregation and understanding of the relationship among cerebellar malformations. Although it will undoubtedly require revisions, this classification is a first step in combining imaging with molecular biology to facilitate understanding of cerebellar development and maldevelopment.
Arachnoid cysts comprise approximately 1% of all intracranial space-occupying lesions and usually occur sporadically. We report retrocerebellar arachnoid cysts in two male siblings with mental retardation and undescended testis, suggesting the possibility of a genetic basis for at least some cases of retrocerebellar arachnoid cysts.
Premature birth globally affects about 11.1% of all newborns and is a risk factor for neurodevelopmental disability in surviving infants. Histology has suggested that hindbrain subdivisions grow differentially, especially in the third trimester. Prematurity-related brain injuries occurring in this period may selectively affect more rapidly developing areas of hindbrain, thus accompanying region-specific impairments in growth and ultimately neurodevelopmental deficits. The current study aimed to quantify regional growth of the cerebellum and the brainstem in preterm neonates (n = 65 with individually multiple scans). We probed associations of the regional volumes with severity of brain injury. In neonates with no imaging evidence of injury, our analysis using a mixed-effect linear model showed faster growth in the pons and the lateral convexity of anterior/posterior cerebellar lobes. Different patterns of growth impairment were found in relation to early cerebral intraventricular hemorrhage and cerebellar hemorrhage (P < 0.05), likely explaining different mechanisms through which neurogenesis is disrupted. The pattern of cerebellar growth identified in our study agreed excellently with details of cerebellar morphogenesis in perinatal development, which has only been observed in histological data. Our proposed analytic framework may provide predictive imaging biomarkers for neurodevelopmental outcome, enabling early identification and treatment of high-risk patients. Hum Brain Mapp 37:678-688, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Historically, the midbrain and hindbrain have been considered of secondary importance to the cerebrum, which has typically been acknowledged as the most important part of the brain. In the past, radiologists and pathologists did not regularly examine these structures-also known as the brainstem and cerebellum-because they are small and difficult to remove without damage. With recent developments in neuroimaging, neuropathology, and neurogenetics, many developmental disorders of the midbrain and hindbrain have emerged as causes of neurodevelopmental dysfunction. These research advances may change the way in which we treat these patients in the future and will enhance the clinical acumen of the practising neurologist and thereby improve the diagnosis and treatment of these patients.
Monosomy 1p36 is the most common subtelomeric chromosomal deletion linked to mental retardation and seizures. Neuroimaging studies suggest that monosomy 1p36 is associated with brain malformations including polymicrogyria and nodular heterotopia, but the histopathology of these lesions is unknown. Here we present postmortem neuropathological findings from a 10 year-old girl with monosomy 1p36, who died of respiratory complications. The findings included micrencephaly, periventricular nodular heterotopia in occipitotemporal lobes, cortical dysgenesis resembling polymicrogyria in dorsolateral frontal lobes, hippocampal malrotation, callosal hypoplasia, superiorly rotated cerebellum with small vermis, and lumbosacral hydromyelia. The abnormal cortex exhibited "festooned" (undulating) supragranular layers, but no significant fusion of the molecular layer. Deletion mapping demonstrated single copy loss of a contiguous 1p36 terminal region encompassing many important neurodevelopmental genes, among them four HES genes implicated in regulating neural stem cell differentiation, and TP73, a monoallelically expressed gene. Our results suggest that brain and spinal malformations in monosomy 1p36 may be more extensive than previously recognized, and may depend on the parental origin of deleted genes. More broadly, our results suggest that specific genetic disorders may cause distinct forms of cortical dysgenesis.
To identify the genetic cause of a syndrome causing cerebellar ataxia and eye movement abnormalities. We identified 2 families with cerebellar ataxia, eye movement abnormalities, and global developmental delay. We performed genetic analyses including single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping, linkage analysis, array comparative genomic hybridization, quantitative PCR, and Sanger sequencing. We obtained eye movement recordings of mutant mice deficient for the ortholog of the identified candidate gene, and performed immunohistochemistry using human and mouse brain specimens. All affected individuals had ataxia, eye movement abnormalities, most notably tonic upgaze, and delayed speech and cognitive development. Homozygosity mapping identified the disease locus on chromosome 4q. Within this region, a homozygous deletion of GRID2 exon 4 in the index family and compound heterozygous deletions involving GRID2 exon 2 in the second family were identified. Grid2-deficient mice showed larger spontaneous and random eye movements compared to wild-type mice. In developing mouse and human cerebella, GRID2 localized to the Purkinje cell dendritic spines. Brain MRI in 2 affected children showed progressive cerebellar atrophy, which was more severe than that of Grid2-deficient mice. Biallelic deletions of GRID2 lead to a syndrome of cerebellar ataxia and tonic upgaze in humans. The phenotypic resemblance and similarity in protein expression pattern between humans and mice suggest a conserved role for GRID2 in the synapse organization between parallel fibers and Purkinje cells. However, the progressive and severe cerebellar atrophy seen in the affected individuals could indicate an evolutionarily unique role for GRID2 in the human cerebellum.
Agenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC), cerebellar hypoplasia (CBLH), and polymicrogyria (PMG) are severe congenital brain malformations with largely undiscovered causes. We conducted a large-scale chromosomal copy number variation (CNV) discovery effort in 255 ACC, 220 CBLH, and 147 PMG patients, and 2,349 controls. Compared to controls, significantly more ACC, but unexpectedly not CBLH or PMG patients, had rare genic CNVs over one megabase (p = 1.48×10⁻³; odds ratio [OR] = 3.19; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.89-5.39). Rare genic CNVs were those that impacted at least one gene in less than 1% of the combined population of patients and controls. Compared to controls, significantly more ACC but not CBLH or PMG patients had rare CNVs impacting over 20 genes (p = 0.01; OR = 2.95; 95% CI = 1.69-5.18). Independent qPCR confirmation showed that 9.4% of ACC patients had de novo CNVs. These, in comparison to inherited CNVs, preferentially overlapped de novo CNVs previously observed in patients with autism spectrum disorders (p = 3.06×10⁻⁴; OR = 7.55; 95% CI = 2.40-23.72). Interestingly, numerous reports have shown a reduced corpus callosum area in autistic patients, and diminished social and executive function in many ACC patients. We also confirmed and refined previously known CNVs, including significantly narrowing the 8p23.1-p11.1 duplication present in 2% of our current ACC cohort. We found six novel CNVs, each in a single patient, that are likely deleterious: deletions of 1p31.3-p31.1, 1q31.2-q31.3, 5q23.1, and 15q11.2-q13.1; and duplications of 2q11.2-q13 and 11p14.3-p14.2. One ACC patient with microcephaly had a paternally inherited deletion of 16p13.11 that included NDE1. Exome sequencing identified a recessive maternally inherited nonsense mutation in the non-deleted allele of NDE1, revealing the complexity of ACC genetics. This is the first systematic study of CNVs in congenital brain malformations, and shows a much higher prevalence of large gene-rich CNVs in ACC than in CBLH and PMG.
Mutations of POLR3A and POLR3B have been reported to cause several allelic hypomyelinating disorders, including hypomyelination with hypogonadotropic hypogonadism and hypodontia (4H syndrome). To clarify the difference in MRI between the two genotypes, we reviewed MRI in three patients with POLR3B mutations, and three with POLR3A mutations. Though small cerebellar hemispheres and vermis are common MRI findings with both types of mutations, MRI in patients with POLR3B mutations revealed smaller cerebellar structures, especially vermis, than those in POLR3A mutations. MRI also showed milder hypomyelination in patients with POLR3B mutations than those with POLR3A mutations, which might explain milder clinical manifestations. MRI findings are distinct between patients with POLR3A and 3B mutations, and can provide important clues for the diagnosis, as these patients sometimes have no clinical symptoms suggesting 4H syndrome.
Malformations of the midbrain (MB) and hindbrain (HB) have become topics of considerable interest in the neurology and neuroscience literature in recent years. The combined advances of imaging and molecular biology have improved analyses of structures in these areas of the central nervous system, while advances in genetics have made it clear that malformations of these structures are often associated with dysfunction or malformation of other organ systems. This review focuses upon the importance of communication between clinical researchers and basic scientists in the advancement of knowledge of this group of disorders. Disorders of anteroposterior (AP) patterning, cerebellar hypoplasias, disorders associated with defects of the pial limiting membrane (cobblestone cortex), disorders of the Reelin pathway, and disorders of the primary cilium/basal body organelle (molar tooth malformations) are the main focus of the review.
Heterozygous loss of function mutations of CASK at Xp11.4 in females cause severe intellectual disability (ID) and microcephaly with pontine and cerebellar hypoplasia (MICPCH). However, the longitudinal clinical and radiological course of affected patients, including patterns of postnatal growth, has not been described. Neurodevelopmental and imaging information was retrospectively accrued for 16 Japanese (15 female and 1 male) patients with ID and MICPCH associated with CASK mutations. All records were analyzed; patient age ranged from 2 to 16 years at the time of the most recent examinations. The growth pattern, neurological development, neurological signs/symptoms, and facial features were similar in the 15 female patients. Their head circumference at birth was within the normal range in about half, and their height and weight were frequently normal. This was followed by early development of severe microcephaly and postnatal growth retardation. The patients acquired head control almost normally between 3 and 6 months, followed by motor delay. More than half of the female patients had epilepsy. Their MRIs showed microcephaly, brainstem, and cerebellar hypoplasia in early infancy, and a normal or large appearing corpus callosum. The male patient showed a more severe clinical phenotype. These uniform clinical and radiological features should facilitate an early diagnosis and be useful for medical care of females with ID and MICPCH associated with CASK mutations.
To describe a homogeneous subtype of periventricular nodular heterotopia (PNH) as part of a newly defined malformation complex. Observational study including review of brain MRI and clinical findings of a cohort of 50 patients with PNH in the temporo-occipital horns and trigones, mutation analysis of the FLNA gene, and anatomopathologic study of a fetal brain. There were 28 females and 22 males. All were sporadic with the exception of an affected mother and son. Epilepsy occurred in 62%, cerebellar signs in 56%, cognitive impairment in 56%, and autism in 12%. Seventy percent were referred within the 3rd year of life. Imaging revealed a normal cerebral cortex in 76% and abnormal cortical folding in 24%. In all patients the hippocampi were under-rotated and in 10% they merged with the heterotopia. Cerebellar dysgenesis was observed in 84% and a hypoplastic corpus callosum in 60%. There was no gender bias or uneven gender distribution of clinical and anatomic severity. No mutations of FLNA occurred in 33 individuals examined. Heterotopia in the fetal brain revealed cytoarchitectonic characteristics similar to those associated with FLNA mutations; cortical pathology was not typical of polymicrogyria. Cerebellar involvement was more severe and the hippocampi appeared simple and under-rotated. This series delineates a malformation complex in which PNH in the trigones and occipito-temporal horns is associated with hippocampal, corpus callosum, and cerebellar dysgenesis. This subtype of PNH is distinct from classic PNH caused by FLNA mutations.
Here we report a boy with epidermal nevus syndrome associated with brainstem and cerebellar malformations and neonatal medulloblastoma. The patient had epidermal nevi and complicated brain malformations including macrocephaly with polymicrogyria, dysmorphic and enlarged midbrain tectum, enlarged cerebellar hemispheres with small and maloriented folia. The patient died after surgical resection of medulloblastoma which was newly recognized on MRI at 51 days of age. Postmortem pathological examinations showed very unique and bizarre malformation of the midbrain and hindbrain. The cerebellar cortex exhibited a coarse, irregular and bumpy surface, blurred border between the Purkinje cell layer and internal granule cell layer, and many foci of heterotopia in the cerebellar white matter. The brainstem showed multiple anomalies, including enlargement of superior colliculi, hypoplasia of pyramidal tracts and dysplasia of inferior olivary nuclei. The unusual constellation of brain malformations of our patient will widen the spectrum of epidermal nevus syndrome.
The 22q13.3 deletion causes a neurodevelopmental syndrome, also known as Phelan-McDermid syndrome (MIM #606232), characterized by developmental delay and severe delay or absence of expressive speech. Two patients with hemizygous chromosome 22q13.3 telomeric deletion were referred to us when brain-imaging studies revealed cerebellar vermis hypoplasia (CBVH). To determine whether developmental abnormalities of the cerebellum are a consistent feature of the 22q13.3 deletion syndrome, we examined brain-imaging studies for 10 unrelated subjects with 22q13 terminal deletion. In seven cases where the availability of DNA and array technology allowed, we mapped deletion boundaries using comparative intensity analysis with single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) microarrays. Approximate deletion boundaries for three additional cases were derived from clinical or published molecular data. We also examined brain-imaging studies for a patient with an intragenic SHANK3 mutation. We report the first brain-imaging data showing that some patients with 22q13 deletions have severe posterior CBVH, and one individual with a SHANK3 mutation has a normal cerebellum. This genotype-phenotype study suggests that the 22q13 deletion phenotype includes abnormal posterior fossa structures that are unlikely to be attributed to SHANK3 disruption. Other genes in the region, including PLXNB2 and MAPK8IP2, display brain expression patterns and mouse mutant phenotypes critical for proper cerebellar development. Future studies of these genes may elucidate their relationship to 22q13.3 deletion phenotypes.
To date, growth of the human fetal cerebellum has been estimated primarily from linear measurements from ultrasound and 2D magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In this study, we use 3D analytical methods to develop normative growth trajectories for the cerebellum in utero. We measured cerebellar volume, linear dimensions, and local surface curvature from 3D reconstructed MRI of the human fetal brain (N = 46). We found that cerebellar volume increased approximately 7-fold from 20 to 31 gestational weeks. The better fit of the exponential curve (R (2) = 0.96) compared to the linear curve (R (2) = 0.92) indicated acceleration in growth. Within-subject cerebellar and cerebral volumes were highly correlated (R (2) = 0.94), though the cerebellar percentage of total brain volume increased from approximately 2.4% to 3.7% (R (2) = 0.63). Right and left hemispheric volumes did not significantly differ. Transcerebellar diameter, vermal height, and vermal anterior to posterior diameter increased significantly at constant rates. From the local curvature analysis, we found that expansion along the inferior and superior aspects of the hemispheres resulted in decreased convexity, which is likely due to the physical constraints of the dura surrounding the cerebellum and the adjacent brainstem. The paired decrease in convexity along the inferior vermis and increased convexity of the medial hemisphere represents development of the paravermian fissure, which becomes more visible during this period. In this 3D morphometric analysis of the human fetal cerebellum, we have shown that cerebellar growth is accelerating at a greater pace than the cerebrum and described how cerebellar growth impacts the shape of the structure.
As survival rates of preterm newborns improve as a result of better medical management, these children increasingly show impaired cognition. These adverse cognitive outcomes are associated with decreases in the volume of the cerebellum. Because animals exhibit reduced preterm cerebellar growth after perinatal exposure to glucocorticoids, we sought to determine whether glucocorticoid exposure and other modifiable factors increased the risk for these adverse outcomes in human neonates. We studied 172 preterm neonatal infants from two medical centers, the University of British Columbia and the University of California, San Francisco, by performing serial magnetic resonance imaging examinations near birth and again near term-equivalent age. After we adjusted for associated clinical factors, antenatal betamethasone was not associated with changes in cerebellar volume. Postnatal exposure to clinically routine doses of hydrocortisone or dexamethasone was associated with impaired cerebellar, but not cerebral, growth. Alterations in treatment after preterm birth, particularly glucocorticoid exposure, may help to decrease risk for adverse neurological outcome after preterm birth.
To investigate the relationship between cerebellar hemorrhage in preterm infants seen on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), but not on ultrasonography, and neurodevelopmental outcome. Images from a cohort study of MRI in preterm newborns were reviewed for cerebellar hemorrhage. The children were assessed at a mean age of 4.8 years with neurologic examination and developmental testing using the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, Third Edition. Cerebellar hemorrhage was detected on both ultrasonography and MRI in 3 of the 131 preterm newborns evaluated, whereas smaller hemorrhages were seen only on MRI in 10 newborns (total incidence, 10%). Adjusting for gestational age at birth, intraventricular hemorrhage, and white matter injury, cerebellar hemorrhage detectable solely by MRI was associated with a 5-fold increased odds of abnormal neurologic examination compared with newborns without cerebellar hemorrhage (outcome data in 74%). No association with the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, Third Edition score was found. Cerebellar hemorrhage is not uncommon in preterm newborns. Although associated with neurologic abnormalities, hemorrhage seen only on MRI is associated with much more optimistic outcomes than that visible on ultrasonography.
To hypothesize that detailed examination of early cerebellar volumes in time would distinguish differences in cerebellar growth associated with intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) and white matter injury in preterm infants. Preterm newborns at the University of California San Francisco (n = 57) and the University of British Columbia (n = 115) were studied with serial magnetic resonance imaging scans near birth and again at near term-equivalent age. Interactive semi-automated tools were used to determine volumes of the cerebellar hemispheres. Adjusting for supratentorial brain injury, cerebellar hemorrhage, and study site, cerebellar volume increased 1.7 cm(3)/week postmenstrual age (95% CI, 1.6-1.7; P < .001). More severe supratentorial IVH was associated with slower growth of cerebellar volumes (P < .001). Volumes by 40 weeks were 1.4 cm(3) lower in premature infants with grade 1 to 2 IVH and 5.4 cm(3) lower in infants with grade 3 to 4 IVH. The same magnitude of decrease was found between ipsilateral and contralateral IVH. No association was found with severity of white matter injury (P = .3). Early effects of decreased cerebellar volume associated with supratentorial IVH in either hemisphere may be a result of concurrent cerebellar injury or direct effects of subarachnoid blood on cerebellar development.
Neurocutaneous melanosis is a rare disorder in which children with large cutaneous melanotic nevi have associated melanosis in the brain. Although many affected children have structurally normal brains, some have associated developmental disorders or brain anomalies. To determine the range of extent of brain melanosis as assessed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and to investigate the frequency and types of associated brain anomalies. We retrospectively reviewed brain and spine MRIs of 80 patients with congenital melanocytic nevi (range: 1 day to 22 years of age) affiliated with Nevus Outreach Inc. from 1998 to 2017. Central nervous system (CNS) melanosis was diagnosed when a mass with abnormal parenchymal T1 hyperintensity was seen. The locations of abnormal signal, associated malformations, the presence of contrast enhancement and, in patients with more than one MRI, changes over time were recorded. Associations among findings were analyzed using chi-square test or Fisher exact test. Brain abnormalities were identified in 33 patients. The most common finding was melanosis in the amygdala, which was found in 31 patients (an isolated finding in 14 patients). Nineteen patients had melanosis in the brainstem, cerebellum, cerebral cortex or thalamus. Cerebral and/or spinal leptomeningeal enhancement was uncommon (five patients). Hindbrain melanosis was associated with cerebellar and pontine hypoplasia (P=0.012). Brain melanosis was most easily seen on T1 images prior to myelination; reduced/loss of visibility was noted as the CNS matured. Brain melanosis is a common manifestation in children with large cutaneous melanotic nevi, most commonly found in the anterior temporal lobes (amygdala), brainstem, cerebellum and cerebral cortex. Hindbrain melanosis is associated with hypoplasia of the affected structures. Early imaging is optimal to provide the greatest sensitivity for diagnosis and to guide proper management.
BackgroundHuman studies investigating the link between postnatal polyunsaturated fatty acids and preterm brain growth are limited, despite emerging evidence of potential effects on outcomes.MethodsSixty preterm neonates <32 weeks gestational age with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning at near-birth and near-term age were assessed for brain tissue volumes, including cortical gray matter, white matter, deep gray matter, cerebellum, brainstem, and ventricular cerebrospinal fluid. Red blood cell fatty acid content was evaluated within 1 week of each MRI scan. Neurodevelopmental outcome at 30-36 months corrected age was assessed.ResultsAdjusting for potential confounders, higher near-birth docosahexaenoic acid levels are associated with larger cortical gray matter, deep gray matter, and brainstem volumes and higher near-term levels with larger deep gray matter, cerebellar, and brainstem volumes at near-term age; lower near-birth linoleic acid levels are correlated with larger white matter volume at near-term age. By 30-36 months corrected age, larger cortical and deep gray matter, cerebellar, and brainstem volumes by term age are associated with improved language scores and larger cerebellar and brainstem volumes with improved motor scores.ConclusionSpecific polyunsaturated fatty acid levels have differential and time-dependent associations with brain region growth. Larger brain volumes are associated with improved outcomes at preschool age.