Feature similarity gradients detect alterations in the neonatal cortex associated with preterm birth

Paola Galdi, Manuel Blesa Cabez, Christine Farrugia, Kadi Vaher, Logan ZJ Williams, Gemma Sullivan, David Q. Stoye, Alan J Quigley, Antonios Makropoulos, Michael J Thrippleton, Mark E Bastin, Hilary Richardson, Heather Whalley, A D Edwards, Claude J. Bajada, Emma C Robinson, James P Boardman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The early life environment programmes cortical architecture and cognition across the life course. A measure of cortical organisation that integrates information from multi-modal MRI and is unbound by arbitrary parcellations has proven elusive, which hampers efforts to uncover the perinatal origins of cortical health. Here, we use the Vogt-Bailey index to provide a fine-grained description of regional homogeneities and sharp variations in cortical microstructure based on feature gradients, and we investigate the impact of being born preterm on cortical development at term-equivalent age. Compared to term-born controls, preterm infants have a homogeneous microstructure in temporal and occipital lobes, and the medial parietal, cingulate, and frontal cortices, compared with term infants. These observations replicated across two independent datasets and were robust to differences that remain in the data after matching samples and alignment of processing and quality control strategies. We conclude that cortical microstructural architecture is altered in preterm infants in a spatially distributed rather than localised fashion.
Keywords: feature similarity gradients, neonatal brain, preterm birth, MRI, neonatal cortex
Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2024


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