Regional apparent diffusion coefficient values in 3rd trimester fetal brain
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Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values in the developing fetus can be used in the diagnosis and prognosis of prenatal brain pathologies. To this end, we measured regional ADC in a relatively large cohort of normal fetal brains in utero.
Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) was performed in 48 non-sedated 3rd trimester fetuses with normal structural MR imaging results. ADC was measured in white matter (frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes), basal ganglia, thalamus, pons, and cerebellum. Regional ADC values were compared by one-way ANOVA with gestational age as covariate. Regression analysis was used to examine gestational age-related changes in regional ADC. Four other cases of CMV infection were also examined.
Median gestational age was 32 weeks (range, 26–33 weeks). There was a highly significant effect of region on ADC, whereby ADC values were highest in white matter, with significantly lower values in basal ganglia and cerebellum and the lowest values in thalamus and pons. ADC did not significantly change with gestational age in any of the regions tested. In the four cases with fetal CMV infection, ADC value was associated with a global decrease.
ADC values in normal fetal brain are relatively stable during the third trimester, show consistent regional variation, and can make an important contribution to the early diagnosis and possibly prognosis of fetal brain pathologies.
KeywordsFetus Brain MRI DWI ADC
Ethical standards and patient consent
We declare that all human and animal studies have been approved by the Institutional Review Board and have therefore been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. We declare that patient consent was waived in this study.
Conflict of interest
We declare that we have no conflict of interest.
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