Whole-brain DTI assessment of white matter damage in children with bilateral cerebral palsy: Evidence of involvement beyond the primary target of the anoxic insult

F. Arrigoni, D. Peruzzo, C. Gagliardi, C. Maghini, P. Colombo, F. Servodio Iammarrone, Carlo Pierpaoli, F. Triulzi, A. C. Turconi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Cerebral palsy is frequently associated with both motor and nonmotor symptoms. DTI can characterize the damage at the level of motor tracts but provides less consistent results in nonmotor areas. We used a standardized pipeline of analysis to describe and quantify the pattern of DTI white matter abnormalities of the whole brain in a group of children with chronic bilateral cerebral palsy and periventricular leukomalacia. We also explored potential correlations between DTI and clinical scale metrics. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty-five patients (mean age, 11.8 years) and 25 healthy children (mean age, 11.8 years) were studied at 3T with a 2-mm isotropic DTI sequence. Differences between patients and controls were assessed both voxelwise and in ROIs obtained from an existing DTI atlas. Clinical metrics included the Gross Motor Function Classification System, the Manual Ability Classification System, and intelligence quotient. RESULTS: The voxel-level and ROI-level analyses demonstrated highly significant (P.001) modifications of DTI measurements in patients at several levels: cerebellar peduncles, corticospinal tracts and posterior thalamic radiations, posterior corpus callosum, external capsule, anterior thalamic radiation, superior longitudinal fasciculi and corona radiata, optic nerves, and chiasm. The reduction of fractional anisotropy values in significant tracts was between 8% and 30%. Statistically significant correlations were found between motor impairment and fractional anisotropy in corticospinal tracts and commissural and associative tracts of the supratentorial brain. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated the involvement of several motor and nonmotor areas in the chronic damage associated with periventricular leukomalacia and showed new correlations between motor skills and DTI metrics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1347-1353
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2016


  • AD=axial diffusivity
  • CP=cerebral palsy
  • CST=corticospinal tract
  • FA=fractional anisotropy
  • GMFCS=Gross Motor Function Classification System
  • HC=healthy control
  • IQ=intelligence quotient
  • MACS=Manual Ability Classification System
  • MD=mean diffusivity
  • PVL=periventricular leukomalacia
  • RD=radial diffusivity
  • SCP-superior cerebellar peduncle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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