Early life predictors of brain development at term-equivalent age in infants born across the gestational age spectrum

Deanne K. Thompson, Claire E. Kelly, Jian Chen, Richard Beare, Bonnie Alexander, Marc L. Seal, Katherine Lee, Lillian G. Matthews, Peter J. Anderson, Lex W. Doyle, Alicia J. Spittle, Jeanie L.Y. Cheong

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Abstract

Background: It is well established that preterm infants have altered brain development compared with full-term (FT; ≥37 weeks' gestational age [GA]) infants, however the perinatal factors associated with brain development in preterm infants have not been fully elucidated. In particular, perinatal predictors of brain development may differ between very preterm infants (VP; <32 weeks' GA) and infants born moderate (MP; 32–33 weeks' GA) and late (LP; 34–36 weeks' GA) preterm, but this has not been studied. This study aimed to investigate the effects of early life predictors on brain volume and microstructure at term-equivalent age (TEA; 38–44 weeks), and whether these effects differ for GA groups (VP, MP, LP or FT). Methods: Structural images from 328 infants (91 VP, 63 MP, 104 LP and 70 FT) were segmented into white matter, cortical grey matter, cerebrospinal fluid, subcortical grey matter, brainstem and cerebellum. Cortical grey matter and white matter images were analysed using voxel-based morphometry. Fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD) and radial diffusivity (RD) images from 361 infants (92 VP, 69 MP, 120 LP and 80 FT) were analysed using Tract-Based Spatial Statistics. Relationships between early life predictors (birthweight standard deviation score [BWSDS], multiple birth, sex, postnatal growth and social risk) and global brain volumes were analysed using linear regressions. Relationships between early life predictors and regional brain volumes and diffusion measures were analysed using voxelwise non-parametric permutation testing. Results: Male sex was associated with higher global volumes of all tissues and higher regional volumes throughout much of the cortical grey matter and white matter, particularly in the FT group. Male sex was also associated with lower FA and higher AD, RD and MD in the optic radiation, external and internal capsules and corona radiata, and these associations were generally similar between GA groups. Higher BWSDS was associated with higher global volumes of all tissues and higher regional volumes in much of the cortical grey matter and white matter in all GA groups, as well as higher FA and lower RD and MD in many major tracts (corpus callosum, optic radiation, internal and external capsules and corona radiata), particularly in the MP and LP groups. Multiple birth and social risk also showed associations with global and regional volumes and regional diffusion values which varied by GA group, but these associations were not independent of the other early life predictors. Postnatal growth was not associated with brain volumes or diffusion values. Conclusion: Early life predictors of brain volumes and microstructure at TEA include sex, BWSDS, multiple birth and social risk, which have different effects based on GA group at birth. This study improves knowledge of the perinatal factors associated with brain abnormalities in infants born across the prematurity spectrum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-824
Number of pages12
JournalNeuroImage
Volume185
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2019

Keywords

  • Diffusion weighted imaging
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Neonate
  • Perinatal
  • Premature birth
  • Preterm

Cite this

Thompson, Deanne K. ; Kelly, Claire E. ; Chen, Jian ; Beare, Richard ; Alexander, Bonnie ; Seal, Marc L. ; Lee, Katherine ; Matthews, Lillian G. ; Anderson, Peter J. ; Doyle, Lex W. ; Spittle, Alicia J. ; Cheong, Jeanie L.Y. / Early life predictors of brain development at term-equivalent age in infants born across the gestational age spectrum. In: NeuroImage. 2019 ; Vol. 185. pp. 813-824.
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title = "Early life predictors of brain development at term-equivalent age in infants born across the gestational age spectrum",
abstract = "Background: It is well established that preterm infants have altered brain development compared with full-term (FT; ≥37 weeks' gestational age [GA]) infants, however the perinatal factors associated with brain development in preterm infants have not been fully elucidated. In particular, perinatal predictors of brain development may differ between very preterm infants (VP; <32 weeks' GA) and infants born moderate (MP; 32–33 weeks' GA) and late (LP; 34–36 weeks' GA) preterm, but this has not been studied. This study aimed to investigate the effects of early life predictors on brain volume and microstructure at term-equivalent age (TEA; 38–44 weeks), and whether these effects differ for GA groups (VP, MP, LP or FT). Methods: Structural images from 328 infants (91 VP, 63 MP, 104 LP and 70 FT) were segmented into white matter, cortical grey matter, cerebrospinal fluid, subcortical grey matter, brainstem and cerebellum. Cortical grey matter and white matter images were analysed using voxel-based morphometry. Fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD) and radial diffusivity (RD) images from 361 infants (92 VP, 69 MP, 120 LP and 80 FT) were analysed using Tract-Based Spatial Statistics. Relationships between early life predictors (birthweight standard deviation score [BWSDS], multiple birth, sex, postnatal growth and social risk) and global brain volumes were analysed using linear regressions. Relationships between early life predictors and regional brain volumes and diffusion measures were analysed using voxelwise non-parametric permutation testing. Results: Male sex was associated with higher global volumes of all tissues and higher regional volumes throughout much of the cortical grey matter and white matter, particularly in the FT group. Male sex was also associated with lower FA and higher AD, RD and MD in the optic radiation, external and internal capsules and corona radiata, and these associations were generally similar between GA groups. Higher BWSDS was associated with higher global volumes of all tissues and higher regional volumes in much of the cortical grey matter and white matter in all GA groups, as well as higher FA and lower RD and MD in many major tracts (corpus callosum, optic radiation, internal and external capsules and corona radiata), particularly in the MP and LP groups. Multiple birth and social risk also showed associations with global and regional volumes and regional diffusion values which varied by GA group, but these associations were not independent of the other early life predictors. Postnatal growth was not associated with brain volumes or diffusion values. Conclusion: Early life predictors of brain volumes and microstructure at TEA include sex, BWSDS, multiple birth and social risk, which have different effects based on GA group at birth. This study improves knowledge of the perinatal factors associated with brain abnormalities in infants born across the prematurity spectrum.",
keywords = "Diffusion weighted imaging, Magnetic resonance imaging, Neonate, Perinatal, Premature birth, Preterm",
author = "Thompson, {Deanne K.} and Kelly, {Claire E.} and Jian Chen and Richard Beare and Bonnie Alexander and Seal, {Marc L.} and Katherine Lee and Matthews, {Lillian G.} and Anderson, {Peter J.} and Doyle, {Lex W.} and Spittle, {Alicia J.} and Cheong, {Jeanie L.Y.}",
year = "2019",
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doi = "10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.04.031",
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Thompson, DK, Kelly, CE, Chen, J, Beare, R, Alexander, B, Seal, ML, Lee, K, Matthews, LG, Anderson, PJ, Doyle, LW, Spittle, AJ & Cheong, JLY 2019, 'Early life predictors of brain development at term-equivalent age in infants born across the gestational age spectrum', NeuroImage, vol. 185, pp. 813-824. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.04.031

Early life predictors of brain development at term-equivalent age in infants born across the gestational age spectrum. / Thompson, Deanne K.; Kelly, Claire E.; Chen, Jian; Beare, Richard; Alexander, Bonnie; Seal, Marc L.; Lee, Katherine; Matthews, Lillian G.; Anderson, Peter J.; Doyle, Lex W.; Spittle, Alicia J.; Cheong, Jeanie L.Y.

In: NeuroImage, Vol. 185, 15.01.2019, p. 813-824.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Early life predictors of brain development at term-equivalent age in infants born across the gestational age spectrum

AU - Thompson, Deanne K.

AU - Kelly, Claire E.

AU - Chen, Jian

AU - Beare, Richard

AU - Alexander, Bonnie

AU - Seal, Marc L.

AU - Lee, Katherine

AU - Matthews, Lillian G.

AU - Anderson, Peter J.

AU - Doyle, Lex W.

AU - Spittle, Alicia J.

AU - Cheong, Jeanie L.Y.

PY - 2019/1/15

Y1 - 2019/1/15

N2 - Background: It is well established that preterm infants have altered brain development compared with full-term (FT; ≥37 weeks' gestational age [GA]) infants, however the perinatal factors associated with brain development in preterm infants have not been fully elucidated. In particular, perinatal predictors of brain development may differ between very preterm infants (VP; <32 weeks' GA) and infants born moderate (MP; 32–33 weeks' GA) and late (LP; 34–36 weeks' GA) preterm, but this has not been studied. This study aimed to investigate the effects of early life predictors on brain volume and microstructure at term-equivalent age (TEA; 38–44 weeks), and whether these effects differ for GA groups (VP, MP, LP or FT). Methods: Structural images from 328 infants (91 VP, 63 MP, 104 LP and 70 FT) were segmented into white matter, cortical grey matter, cerebrospinal fluid, subcortical grey matter, brainstem and cerebellum. Cortical grey matter and white matter images were analysed using voxel-based morphometry. Fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD) and radial diffusivity (RD) images from 361 infants (92 VP, 69 MP, 120 LP and 80 FT) were analysed using Tract-Based Spatial Statistics. Relationships between early life predictors (birthweight standard deviation score [BWSDS], multiple birth, sex, postnatal growth and social risk) and global brain volumes were analysed using linear regressions. Relationships between early life predictors and regional brain volumes and diffusion measures were analysed using voxelwise non-parametric permutation testing. Results: Male sex was associated with higher global volumes of all tissues and higher regional volumes throughout much of the cortical grey matter and white matter, particularly in the FT group. Male sex was also associated with lower FA and higher AD, RD and MD in the optic radiation, external and internal capsules and corona radiata, and these associations were generally similar between GA groups. Higher BWSDS was associated with higher global volumes of all tissues and higher regional volumes in much of the cortical grey matter and white matter in all GA groups, as well as higher FA and lower RD and MD in many major tracts (corpus callosum, optic radiation, internal and external capsules and corona radiata), particularly in the MP and LP groups. Multiple birth and social risk also showed associations with global and regional volumes and regional diffusion values which varied by GA group, but these associations were not independent of the other early life predictors. Postnatal growth was not associated with brain volumes or diffusion values. Conclusion: Early life predictors of brain volumes and microstructure at TEA include sex, BWSDS, multiple birth and social risk, which have different effects based on GA group at birth. This study improves knowledge of the perinatal factors associated with brain abnormalities in infants born across the prematurity spectrum.

AB - Background: It is well established that preterm infants have altered brain development compared with full-term (FT; ≥37 weeks' gestational age [GA]) infants, however the perinatal factors associated with brain development in preterm infants have not been fully elucidated. In particular, perinatal predictors of brain development may differ between very preterm infants (VP; <32 weeks' GA) and infants born moderate (MP; 32–33 weeks' GA) and late (LP; 34–36 weeks' GA) preterm, but this has not been studied. This study aimed to investigate the effects of early life predictors on brain volume and microstructure at term-equivalent age (TEA; 38–44 weeks), and whether these effects differ for GA groups (VP, MP, LP or FT). Methods: Structural images from 328 infants (91 VP, 63 MP, 104 LP and 70 FT) were segmented into white matter, cortical grey matter, cerebrospinal fluid, subcortical grey matter, brainstem and cerebellum. Cortical grey matter and white matter images were analysed using voxel-based morphometry. Fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD) and radial diffusivity (RD) images from 361 infants (92 VP, 69 MP, 120 LP and 80 FT) were analysed using Tract-Based Spatial Statistics. Relationships between early life predictors (birthweight standard deviation score [BWSDS], multiple birth, sex, postnatal growth and social risk) and global brain volumes were analysed using linear regressions. Relationships between early life predictors and regional brain volumes and diffusion measures were analysed using voxelwise non-parametric permutation testing. Results: Male sex was associated with higher global volumes of all tissues and higher regional volumes throughout much of the cortical grey matter and white matter, particularly in the FT group. Male sex was also associated with lower FA and higher AD, RD and MD in the optic radiation, external and internal capsules and corona radiata, and these associations were generally similar between GA groups. Higher BWSDS was associated with higher global volumes of all tissues and higher regional volumes in much of the cortical grey matter and white matter in all GA groups, as well as higher FA and lower RD and MD in many major tracts (corpus callosum, optic radiation, internal and external capsules and corona radiata), particularly in the MP and LP groups. Multiple birth and social risk also showed associations with global and regional volumes and regional diffusion values which varied by GA group, but these associations were not independent of the other early life predictors. Postnatal growth was not associated with brain volumes or diffusion values. Conclusion: Early life predictors of brain volumes and microstructure at TEA include sex, BWSDS, multiple birth and social risk, which have different effects based on GA group at birth. This study improves knowledge of the perinatal factors associated with brain abnormalities in infants born across the prematurity spectrum.

KW - Diffusion weighted imaging

KW - Magnetic resonance imaging

KW - Neonate

KW - Perinatal

KW - Premature birth

KW - Preterm

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SN - 1053-8119

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