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Neuroradiology. 2009 Sep;51(9):567-76. doi: 10.1007/s00234-009-0533-8. Epub 2009 May 7.

Region-specific maturation of cerebral cortex in human fetal brain: diffusion tensor imaging and histology.

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Department of Radiodiagnosis, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, UP, India, 226014.



In this study, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) immunohistochemical analysis in different cortical regions in fetal brains at different gestational age (GA) were performed.


DTI was performed on 50 freshly aborted fetal brains with GA ranging from 12 to 42 weeks to compare age-related fractional anisotropy (FA) changes in different cerebral cortical regions that include frontal, parietal, occipital, and temporal lobes at the level of thalami. GFAP immunostaining was performed and the percentage of GFAP-positive areas was quantified.


The cortical FA values in the frontal lobe peaked at around 26 weeks of GA, occipital and temporal lobes at around 20 weeks, and parietal lobe at around 23 weeks. A significant, but modest, positive correlation (r = 0.31, p = 0.02) was observed between cortical FA values and percentage area of GFAP expression in cortical region around the time period during which the migrational events are at its peak, i.e., GA < or = 28 weeks for frontal cortical region and GA < or = 22 weeks for rest of the lobes.


The DTI-derived FA quantification with its GFAP immunohistologic correlation in cortical regions of the various lobes of the cerebral hemispheres supports region-specific migrational and maturational events in human fetal brain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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