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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2009 Oct;30(9):1799-803. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A1661. Epub 2009 Jun 25.

Normative apparent diffusion coefficient values in the developing fetal brain.

Author information

1
Departments of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0628, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Previous studies of diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) in fetuses are limited. Because of the need for normative data for comparison with young fetuses and preterm neonates with suspected brain abnormalities, we studied apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values in a population of singleton, nonsedated, healthy fetuses.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

DWI was performed in 28 singleton nonsedated fetuses with normal or questionably abnormal results on sonography and normal fetal MR imaging results; 10 fetuses also had a second fetal MR imaging, which included DWI. ADC values in the periatrial white matter (WM), frontal WM, thalamus, basal ganglia, cerebellum, and pons were plotted against gestational age and analyzed with linear regression. We compared mean ADC in different regions using the Tukey Honestly Significant Difference test. We also compared rates of decline in ADC with increasing gestational age across different areas by using the t test with multiple comparisons correction. Neurodevelopmental outcome was assessed.

RESULTS:

Median gestational age was 24.28 weeks (range, 21-33.43 weeks). Results of all fetal MR imaging examinations were normal, including 1 fetus with a normal variant of a cavum velum interpositum. ADC values were highest in the frontal and periatrial WM and lowest in the thalamus and pons. ADC declined with increasing gestational age in periatrial WM (P = .0003), thalamus (P < .0001), basal ganglia (P = .0035), cerebellum (P < .0001), and pons (P = .024). Frontal WM ADC did not significantly change with gestational age. ADC declined fastest in the cerebellum, followed by the thalamus.

CONCLUSIONS:

Regional differences in nonsedated fetal ADC values and their evolution with gestational age likely reflect differences in brain maturation and are similar to published data in premature neonates.

PMID:
19556350
PMCID:
PMC4524324
DOI:
10.3174/ajnr.A1661
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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