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Cereb Cortex. 2017 Oct 1;27(10):4750-4758. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhw269.

Intrinsic Functional Connectivity in Preterm Infants with Fetal Growth Restriction Evaluated at 12 Months Corrected Age.

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Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet, 171 76Stockholm , Sweden.
Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Sotockholm, Sweden.
Department of Neurology, Insititute of Neuroscience, Hospital Clinic, Universidad de Barcelonaand Institut D'investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), 08036 Barcelona, Spain.
BCNatal-Barcelona Center for Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine (Hospital Clinic and Hospital Sant Joan de Deu), IDIBAPS, University of Barcelona, and Centre for Biomedical Research on Rare Diseases (CIBER-ER), 08028 Barcelona, Spain.
Department of Radiology, Centre de Diagnòstic per la Imatge, CDIC, Hospital Clinic, Universidad de Barcelona, 08036 Barcelona, Spain.
Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad de Barcelona, 08036 Barcelona, Spain.
Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet, 171 76 Stockholm, Sweden.
Department of Neonatology, Karolinska University Hospital, 171 76 Stockholm, Sweden.


Fetal growth restriction (FGR) affects brain development in preterm infants, but little is known about its effects on resting-state functional connectivity. We compared 20 preterm infants, born at <34 weeks of gestation with abnormal antenatal Doppler measurements and birth weights <10th percentile, with 20 appropriate for gestational age preterm infants of similar gestational age and 20 term infants. They were scanned without sedation at 12 months of age and screened for autistic traits at 26 months. Resting functional connectivity was assessed using group independent component analysis and seed-based correlation analysis. The groups showed 10 common resting-state networks involving cortical, subcortical regions, and the cerebellum. Only infants with FGR showed patterns of increased connectivity in the visual network and decreased connectivity in the auditory/language and dorsal attention networks. No significant differences between groups were found using seed-based correlation analysis. FGR infants displayed a higher frequency of early autism features, related to decreased connectivity involving the salience network, than term infants. These data suggest that FGR is an independent risk factor for disrupted intrinsic functional connectivity in preterm infants when they are 1-year old and provide more clues about the neurodevelopmental abnormalities reported in this population.


autism spectrum disorder; fetal growth restriction; neurodevelopment; prematurity; resting state functional connectivity

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