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Neuroimage. 2013 Jan 1;64:371-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.09.008. Epub 2012 Sep 12.

A left cerebellar pathway mediates language in prematurely-born young adults.

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  • 1Diagnostic Radiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA. todd.constable@yale.edu

Abstract

Preterm (PT) subjects are at risk for developmental delay, and task-based studies suggest that developmental disorders may be due to alterations in neural connectivity. Since emerging data imply the importance of right cerebellar function for language acquisition in typical development, we hypothesized that PT subjects would have alternate areas of cerebellar connectivity, and that these areas would be responsible for differences in cognitive outcomes between PT subjects and term controls at age 20 years. Nineteen PT and 19 term control young adults were prospectively studied using resting-state functional MRI (fMRI) to create voxel-based contrast maps reflecting the functional connectivity of each tissue element in the grey matter through analysis of the intrinsic connectivity contrast degree (ICC-d). Left cerebellar ICC-d differences between subjects identified a region of interest that was used for subsequent seed-based connectivity analyses. Subjects underwent standardized language testing, and correlations with cognitive outcomes were assessed. There were no differences in gender, hand preference, maternal education, age at study, or Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) scores. Functional connectivity (FcMRI) demonstrated increased tissue connectivity in the biventer, simple and quadrangular lobules of the L cerebellum (p<0.05) in PTs compared to term controls; seed-based analyses from these regions demonstrated alterations in connectivity from L cerebellum to both R and L inferior frontal gyri (IFG) in PTs compared to term controls. For PTs but not term controls, there were significant positive correlations between these connections and PPVT scores (R IFG: r=0.555, p=0.01; L IFG: r=0.454, p=0.05), as well as Verbal Comprehension Index (VCI) scores (R IFG: r=0.472, p=0.04). These data suggest the presence of a left cerebellar language circuit in PT subjects at young adulthood. These findings may represent either a delay in maturation or the engagement of alternative neural pathways for language in the developing PT brain.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:
22982585
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3508203
Free PMC Article
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