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Abstract #0491

Development of Major White Matter Tracts in Fetal Brains Revealed by DTI

Hao Huang1, Linda J. Richards2, Paul Yarowsky3, Susumu Mori4,5

1Advanced Imaging Research Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA; 2Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, Australia; 3Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, USA; 4Radiology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA; 5F.M. Kirby Functional MRI Center, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, MD, USA

The human fetal brain development is characterized with dramatic structural changes. Specifically during the second trimester, some important white matter tracts begin to form and the existing tracts undergo significantly morphological changes. DTI colormap and tractography are capable of revealing the white matter changes. In this study, DTI data of postmortem human fetal brains from 13 to 22 gestational weeks were acquired for structural annotation and tractography. Tracts in brain stem and limbic tracts develop early and before second trimester. During second trimester, corpus callosum, uncinate, inferior fronto-occipital and inferior longitudinal fasciculus begin to form.