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.
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.
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.