Linda Chan1, Deanne K. Thompson1, Peter J. Anderson1, Alan Connelly2, Jeanie Cheong1, Lex W. Doyle1
1Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; 23Brain Research Institute, Florey Neuroscience Institutes, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Extremely preterm birth or extremely low birth weight are associated with brain white matter abnormalities and motor impairments. Structural and diffusion MRIs were obtained in 186 extremely preterm and 136 full-term adolescents at 18 years of age. Constrained spherical deconvolution tractography was performed. Extremely preterm infants had altered microstructural organization in the superior corticospinal tract regions, which related to neonatal brain injury. Motor impairment was related to reduced tract volume. Thus, preterm adolescents may have delayed corticospinal tract development. This may be a consequence of neonatal brain injury, and may relate to impaired motor outcomes in extreme prematurity.