Apparent diffusion coefficient determination in normal fetal brain: A prenatal MR imaging study

Andrea Righini, Elena Bianchini, Cecilia Parazzini, Patrizia Gementi, Luca Ramenghi, Cristina Baldoli, Umberto Nicolini, Fabio Mosca, Fabio Triulzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Diffusion-weighted MR imaging studies of normal brain development have focused on premature babies who were free of focal lesions on conventional MR images. The condition of prematurity, however, is dissimilar to intrauterine life. We sought to establish normal values of fetal brain apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) to highlight its abnormal changes in pathologic conditions and to obtain information about normal brain development. METHODS: We measured the ADC, in utero, by using an echo-planar three-axes diffusion-sensitized sequence (b factor, 0 and 600 s/mm2), in frontal and occipital white matter and basal ganglia gray matter of 15 fetuses. Their gestational ages ranged from 22 to 35 weeks, and the postnatal MR images or sonograms revealed normal brain. RESULTS: Mean ADC value was 1.96 ± 0.1 μm2/ms (SD) in frontal white matter, 1.95 ± 0.1 μm2/ms in occipital white matter, and 1.56 ± 0.1 μm2/ms in basal ganglia. A significant negative correlation between ADC and gestational age was found for basal ganglia, whereas only a trend was present for frontal white matter. CONCLUSION: Although moderately higher, the ADC determinations we obtained are consistent with those reported in the literature in postnatal studies performed in premature babies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)799-804
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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