Send to

Choose Destination
Dev Med Child Neurol. 2010 Aug;52(8):760-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2010.03633.x. Epub 2010 Feb 24.

Superior longitudinal fasciculus and cognitive dysfunction in adolescents born preterm and at term.

Author information

Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



To understand the relationship between cognition and white-matter structure in adolescents born preterm without obvious brain injury.


Thirty-two adolescents from a longitudinal study of child development were selected according to risk of developmental disorders at birth (born at term: eight males, five females; median age 16y 1mo, interquartile range 10mo; low risk preterm: four males, five females, median age 16y, range 4mo; high risk preterm: three males, seven females, median age 16y 2mo, range 1y 2mo) and reading ability (good: three males, eight females, median age 16y, range 7mo; average: six males, three females, median age 16y 10mo, range 1y; poor: six males, six females, median age 16y, range 6mo). Preterm birth was defined as a gestational age of 36 weeks or less and a birthweight of 1600g or less. All participants had normal clinical neuroimaging findings. We examined fractional anisotropy, radial diffusivity, and volume of three major white-matter fasciculi. The relationship between structural measures and birth risk, hemisphere, and cognitive ability (attention, lexical and sublexical decoding, auditory phonological awareness, and processing speed) were analysed using mixed-model regression.


Left-hemisphere superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF) fractional anisotropy and radial diffusivity were linked to reading-related skills (fractional anisotropy vs letter-word identification, r((30))=-0.37, p<0.05; fractional anisotropy vs phoneme reversal, r((30))=-0.34, p=0.05; radial diffusivity vs letter-word identification, r((30))=0.31, p<0.10; radial diffusivity vs phoneme reversal, r((30))=0.40, p<0.05), whereas right-hemisphere SLF fractional anisotropy was related to attention skills (fractional anisotropy vs inattentiveness, r((30))=-0.38, p<0.05). SLF volume decreased as these skills declined for adolescents born preterm (volume vs phoneme reversal, r((17))=0.58, p<0.01; volume vs inattentiveness, r((17))=-0.69, p<0.01), but not for those born at term.


The relationship between cognitive skills and SLF volume suggests that in adolescents born preterm, cryptic white-matter injury may exist, possibly related to oligodendrocyte or axonal loss, despite normal clinical neuroimaging.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center