Gestational age and neonatal brain microstructure in term born infants: A birth cohort study

Birit F.P. Broekman, Changqing Wang, Yue Li, Anne Rifkin-Graboi, Seang Mei Saw, Yap Seng Chong, Kenneth Kwek, Peter D. Gluckman, Marielle V. Fortier, Michael J. Meaney, Anqi Qiu, Allan Sheppard, Amutha Chinnadurai, Anne Ferguson-Smith, Anne Eng Neo Goh, Arijit Biswas, Audrey Chia, Borys Shuter, Shirong Cai, Chan Yiong HuakCheryl Ngo, Chiang Wen Chin, Chai Kiat Chng, Shang Chee Chong, Christiani Jeyakumar Henry, Mei Chien Chua, Cornelia Yin Ing Chee, Yam Thiam Daniel Goh, Dennis Bier, Chun Ming Ding, Doris Fok, Eric Andrew Finkelstein, Fabian Kok Peng Yap, George Seow Heong Yeo, Wee Meng Han, Helen Chen, Helena Marieke Verkooijen, Hugo P.S. Van Bever, Hazel Inskip, Iliana Magiati, Inez Bik Yun Wong, Jeevesh Kapur, Jenny L. Richmond, Jerry Kok Yen Chan, Johanna Holbrook, Joshua J. Gooley, Keith M. Godfrey, Krishnamoorthy Niduvaje, Bee Wah Lee, Yung Seng Lee, Leher Singh, Sok Bee Lim, Lourdes Mary Daniel, Seong Feei Loh, Yen Ling Low, Pei Chi Lynette Shek, Mark Hanson, Mary Foong Fong Chong, Michael H. Heymann, Mikael Hartman, Mya Thway Tint, Susan Morton, Wei Wei Pang, Pratibha Agarwal, Boon Long Quah, Rob M. Van Dam, David Stringer, Salome Antonette Rebello, Wing Chee So, So Wing Chee, E. Soh Shu, Chin Ying Hsu, Lin Lin Su, Jenny Tang, Kok Hian Tan, Soek Hui Tan, Oon Hoe Teoh, Terry Tong Yoke Yin, Thomas Walczyk, Victor Samuel Rajadurai, Walter Stunkel, Wayne Cutfield, Wong Peng Cheang, P. C. Wong, Sudhakar K. Venkatesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Methods: A cohort of 93 infants recruited from maternity hospitals in Singapore underwent diffusion tensor imaging between 5 to 17 days after birth. We did a cross-sectional examination of white matter microstructure of the brain among healthy term infants as a function of gestational age via voxel-based analysis on fractional anisotropy.

Results: Greater gestational age at birth in term infants was associated with larger fractional anisotropy values in early developing brain regions, when corrected for age at scan. Specifically, it was associated with a cluster located at the corpus callosum (corrected p<0.001), as well as another cluster spanning areas of the anterior corona radiata, anterior limb of internal capsule, and external capsule (corrected p<0.001).

Conclusions: Our findings show variation in brain maturation associated with gestational age amongst 'term' infants, with increased brain maturation when born with a relatively higher gestational age in comparison to those infants born with a relatively younger gestational age. Future studies should explore if these differences in brain maturation between 37 and 41 weeks of gestational age will persist over time due to development outside the womb.

Objective: Understanding healthy brain development in utero is crucial in order to detect abnormal developmental trajectories due to developmental disorders. However, in most studies neuroimaging was done after a significant postnatal period, and in those studies that performed neuroimaging on fetuses, the quality of data has been affected due to complications of scanning during pregnancy. To understand healthy brain development between 37-41 weeks of gestational age, our study assessed the in utero growth of the brain in healthy term born babies with DTI scanning soon after birth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere115229
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 23 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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