Multi-modal measurement of the myelin-to-axon diameter g-ratio in preterm-born neonates and adult controls

Andrew Melbourne, Zach Eaton-Rosen, Enrico De Vita, Alan Bainbridge, Manuel Jorge Cardoso, David Price, Ernest Cady, Giles S Kendall, Nicola J Robertson, Neil Marlow, Sébastien Ourselin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Infants born prematurely are at increased risk of adverse functional outcome. The measurement of white matter tissue composition and structure can help predict functional performance and this motivates the search for new multi-modal imaging biomarkers. In this work we develop a novel combined biomarker from diffusion MRI and multi-component T2 relaxation measurements in a group of infants born very preterm and scanned between 30 and 40 weeks equivalent gestational age. We also investigate this biomarker on a group of seven adult controls, using a multi-modal joint model-fitting strategy. The proposed emergent biomarker is tentatively related to axonal energetic efficiency (in terms of axonal membrane charge storage) and conduction velocity and is thus linked to the tissue electrical properties, giving it a good theoretical justification as a predictive measurement of functional outcome.


  • Adult
  • Axons/pathology
  • Brain/pathology
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging/methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted/methods
  • Infant, Extremely Premature
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multimodal Imaging/methods
  • Myelin Sheath/pathology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Young Adult


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