Abnormalities in orbitofrontal cortex gyrification and mental health outcomes in adolescents born extremely preterm and/or at an extremely low birth weight

Eleni P. Ganella, Alice Burnett, Jeanie Cheong, Deanne Thompson, Gehan Roberts, Stephen Wood, Katherine Lee, Julianne Duff, Peter J Anderson, Christos Pantelis, Lex W. Doyle, Cali Bartholomeusz, Victorian Infant Collaborative Study Group

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Extremely preterm (EP, <28 weeks) and/or extremely low birth weight (ELBW, <1000 g) infants are at high risk of aberrant neurodevelopment. Sulcogyral folding patterns of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) are determined during the third trimester, however little is known about OFC patterning in EP/ELBW cohorts, for whom this gestational period is disturbed. This study investigated whether the distribution of OFC pattern types and frequency of intermediate and/or posterior orbital sulci (IOS/POS) differed between EP/ELBW and control adolescents. This study also investigated whether OFC pattern type was associated with mental illness or executive function outcome in adolescence. Magnetic resonance images of 194 EP/ELBW and 147 full term (>37 completed weeks) and/or normal birth weight (>2500 g) adolescents were acquired, from which the OFC pattern of each hemisphere was classified as Type I, II, or III. Compared with controls, more EP/ELBW adolescents possessed a Type II in the left hemisphere (P=0.019). The EP/ELBW group had fewer IOS (P=0.024) and more POS (P=0.021) in the left hemisphere compared with controls. OFC pattern type was not associated with mental illness, however in terms of executive functioning, Type III in the left hemisphere was associated with better parent-reported metacognition scores overall (P=0.008) and better self-reported behavioral regulation scores in the control group (P=0.001) compared with Type I. We show, for the first time that EP/ELBW birth is associated with changes in orbitofrontal development, and that specific patterns of OFC folding are associated with executive function at age 18 years in both EP/ELBW and control subjects. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1138-1150
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Executive function
  • Extremely low birth weight
  • Extremely preterm
  • Mental illness
  • Orbitofrontal cortex
  • Sulcogyral folding patterns

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