Pediatric Radiology

, Volume 43, Issue 10, pp 1357–1364 | Cite as

Preterm infants’ early growth and brain white matter maturation at term age

  • Virva LepomäkiEmail author
  • Marika Leppänen
  • Jaakko Matomäki
  • Helena Lapinleimu
  • Liisa Lehtonen
  • Leena Haataja
  • Markku Komu
  • Päivi Rautava
  • Riitta Parkkola
  • the PIPARI study group
Original Article



Normal intrauterine conditions are essential to normal brain growth and development; premature birth and growth restriction can interrupt brain maturation. Maturation processes can be studied using diffusion tensor imaging.


The aim of this study was to use tract-based spatial statistics to assess the effect that early postnatal growth from birth to 40 gestational weeks has on brain white matter maturation.

Materials and methods

A total of 36 preterm infants were accepted in the study. Postnatal growth was assessed by weight, length and head circumference. Birth weight z-score and gestational age were used as confounding covariates.


Head circumference catch-up growth was associated with less mature diffusion parameters (P < 0.05). No significant associations were observed between weight or length growth and diffusion parameters.


Growth-restricted infants seem to have delayed brain maturation that is not fully compensated at term, despite catch-up growth.


Diffusion tensor imaging Tract-based spatial statistics Catch-up growth Neonate 


Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Virva Lepomäki
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Marika Leppänen
    • 3
  • Jaakko Matomäki
    • 3
  • Helena Lapinleimu
    • 3
  • Liisa Lehtonen
    • 3
  • Leena Haataja
    • 4
  • Markku Komu
    • 1
  • Päivi Rautava
    • 6
    • 7
  • Riitta Parkkola
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  • the PIPARI study group
  1. 1.Medical Imaging Centre of Southwest FinlandTurku University Central HospitalTurkuFinland
  2. 2.Turku PET-CentreTurku University HospitalTurkuFinland
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsTurku University Hospital and University of TurkuTurkuFinland
  4. 4.Department of Pediatric NeurologyTurku University Hospital and University of TurkuTurkuFinland
  5. 5.Department of Diagnostic RadiologyUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  6. 6.Department of Public HealthUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  7. 7.Turku Clinical Research CentreTurku University HospitalTurkuFinland

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