Our aim was to compare white matter (WM) microstructure in preterm infants with and without punctate WM lesions on MRI using tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) and probabilistic tractography. We studied 23 preterm infants with punctate lesions, median GA at birth 30 (25-35) wk, and 23 GA- and sex-matched preterm controls. TBSS and tractography were performed to assess differences in fractional anisotropy (FA) between the two groups at term equivalent age. The impact of lesion load was assessed by performing linear regression analysis of the number of lesions on term MRI versus FA in the corticospinal tracts in the punctate lesions group. FA values were significantly lower in the posterior limb of the internal capsule, cerebral peduncles, decussation of the superior cerebellar peduncles, superior cerebellar peduncles, and pontine crossing tract in the punctate lesions group. There was a significant negative correlation between lesion load at term and FA in the corticospinal tracts (p = 0.03, adjusted r = 0.467). In conclusion, punctate lesions are associated with altered microstructure in the WM fibers of the corticospinal tract at term equivalent age.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health