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Neuropediatrics. 2003 Aug;34(4):182-8.

Pyramidal tract damage correlates with motor dysfunction in bilateral periventricular leukomalacia (PVL).

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  • 1Children's Hospital, Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen, Germany.


In children with periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), motor dysfunction is thought to be related to involvement of pyramidal tract fibres in the periventricular white matter. The purpose of the present study was to test this hypothesis. Thirteen former preterm adolescents with PVL, ten of whom were suffering from bilateral spastic cerebral palsy, were studied by MRI. The severity of pyramidal tract damage was assessed on semicoronal MRI reconstructions along anatomical landmarks of somatotopy in the precentral gyrus and the internal capsule; for comparison, the overall volume of cerebral white matter (determined by automated volumetry) served as a global measure of lesion severity. The motor dysfunction of each of the four extremities correlated much more strongly with the severity of pyramidal tract damage assessed on the respective MRI reconstruction (range of correlation coefficients, 0.647 to 0.922) than with the total volume of white matter (range of correlation coefficients, - 0.458 to - 0.212; Spearman). These findings corroborate the notion that an involvement of pyramidal tract fibres in the periventricular white matter is indeed a relevant factor for motor dysfunction in children with PVL.

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