Longitudinal measurement of the developing grey matter in preterm subjects using multi-modal MRI

Zach Eaton-Rosen, Andrew Melbourne, Eliza Orasanu, M Jorge Cardoso, Marc Modat, Alan Bainbridge, Giles S Kendall, Nicola J Robertson, Neil Marlow, Sebastien Ourselin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Preterm birth is a major public health concern, with the severity and occurrence of adverse outcome increasing with earlier delivery. Being born preterm disrupts a time of rapid brain development: in addition to volumetric growth, the cortex folds, myelination is occurring and there are changes on the cellular level. These neurological events have been imaged non-invasively using diffusion-weighted (DW) MRI. In this population, there has been a focus on examining diffusion in the white matter, but the grey matter is also critically important for neurological health. We acquired multi-shell high-resolution diffusion data on 12 infants born at ≤ 28 weeks of gestational age at two time-points: once when stable after birth, and again at term-equivalent age. We used the Neurite Orientation Dispersion and Density Imaging model (NODDI) (Zhang et al., 2012) to analyse the changes in the cerebral cortex and the thalamus, both grey matter regions. We showed region-dependent changes in NODDI parameters over the preterm period, highlighting underlying changes specific to the microstructure. This work is the first time that NODDI parameters have been evaluated in both the cortical and the thalamic grey matter as a function of age in preterm infants, offering a unique insight into neuro-development in this at-risk population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)580-9
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015


  • Cerebral Cortex/growth & development
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Gray Matter/growth & development
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature/growth & development
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods
  • Male
  • Multimodal Imaging
  • Thalamus/growth & development


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