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Neuroradiology. 2010 Nov;52(11):1025-35. doi: 10.1007/s00234-010-0745-y. Epub 2010 Jul 13.

Diffusion tensor imaging of early changes in corpus callosum after acute cerebral hemisphere lesions in newborns.

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Radiology and Neuroradiology Department, Children's Hospital V. Buzzi, ICP, Via castelvetro 32, 20154, Milan, Italy.



The main purpose was to investigate any early diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) changes in corpus callosum (CC) associated with acute cerebral hemisphere lesions in term newborns.


We retrospectively analysed 19 cases of term newborns acutely affected by focal or multi-focal lesions: hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, hypoglycaemic encephalopathy, focal ischemic stroke and deep medullary vein associated lesions. DTI was acquired at 1.5 Tesla with dedicated neonatal coil. DTI metrics (apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), fractional anisotropy (FA), axial λ(∐) and radial λ(⟂) diffusivity) were measured in the hemisphere lesions and in the CC. The control group included seven normal newborns.


The following significant differences were found between patients and normal controls in the CC: mean ADC was lower in patients (0.88 SD 0.23 versus 1.18 SD 0.07 μm(2)/s) and so was mean FA (0.50 SD 0.1 versus 0.67 SD 0.05) and mean λ(∐) value (1.61 SD 0.52 versus 2.36 SD 0.14 μm(2)/s). In CC the percentage of ADC always diminished independently of lesion age (with one exception), whereas in hemisphere lesions, it was negative in earlier lesions, but exceeded normal values in the older lesions.


CC may undergo early DTI changes in newborns with acute focal or multi-focal hemisphere lesions of different aetiology. Although a direct insult to CC cannot be totally ruled out, DTI changes in CC (in particular λ(∐)) may also be compatible with very early Wallerian degeneration or pre-Wallerian degeneration.

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