Region-specific maturation of cerebral cortex in human fetal brain: diffusion tensor imaging and histology
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In this study, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) immunohistochemical analysis in different cortical regions in fetal brains at different gestational age (GA) were performed.
DTI was performed on 50 freshly aborted fetal brains with GA ranging from 12 to 42 weeks to compare age-related fractional anisotropy (FA) changes in different cerebral cortical regions that include frontal, parietal, occipital, and temporal lobes at the level of thalami. GFAP immunostaining was performed and the percentage of GFAP-positive areas was quantified.
The cortical FA values in the frontal lobe peaked at around 26 weeks of GA, occipital and temporal lobes at around 20 weeks, and parietal lobe at around 23 weeks. A significant, but modest, positive correlation (r = 0.31, p = 0.02) was observed between cortical FA values and percentage area of GFAP expression in cortical region around the time period during which the migrational events are at its peak, i.e., GA ≤ 28 weeks for frontal cortical region and GA ≤ 22 weeks for rest of the lobes.
The DTI-derived FA quantification with its GFAP immunohistologic correlation in cortical regions of the various lobes of the cerebral hemispheres supports region-specific migrational and maturational events in human fetal brain.
KeywordsDiffusion tensor imaging Fetal brain Fractional anisotropy Glial fibrillary acidic protein Regional cortical maturation
This study was supported by grant no. BT/416 PR5009/Med/14/581/2004 from the Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi, India. Richa Trivedi and Sona Saksena acknowledge the financial assistance from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, and Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi, India, respectively.
Conflict of interest statement
We declare that we have no conflict of interest
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