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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2003 Sep;24(8):1654-60.

T2 relaxation values in the developing preterm brain.

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Robert Steiner MR Unit, Imaging Sciences Department, MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Hammersmith Campus, Imperial College, DuCane Road, London, England.



MR imaging is increasingly used to assess maturation and disease in the preterm brain. Knowledge of the changes in T2 values with increasing postmenstrual age (PMA) will aid image interpretation and help in the objective assessment of maturation and disease of the brain in infants. The aim of this study was to obtain T2 values in the preterm brain from 25 weeks' gestational age (GA) until term-equivalent age in infants who had normal neurodevelopmental findings at a minimum corrected age of 1 year.


The study group consisted of 18 preterm infants, born at 33 weeks' GA or sooner. The median GA of the infants at birth was 27 weeks (range, 23-33 weeks), and the median PMA at imaging was 31 weeks (range, 25-41 weeks). T2 measurements were obtained using a 1.0-T MR system and a four-echo pulse sequence (TR/TE, 2500/ 30, 60, 110, and 600). T2 values were measured in the thalami, lentiform nuclei, frontal white matter, occipital white matter, and central white matter at the level of the centrum semiovale.


A significant negative linear correlation between T2 values and PMA was demonstrated in the lentiform nuclei (P =.003), frontal white matter (P <.0001), occipital white matter (P <.0001), and central white matter at the level of the centrum semiovale (P <.0001). T2 values were not significantly reduced with increasing PMA in the thalami (P =.06).


T2 values decrease with increasing PMA in the preterm brain.

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