Comparative Evaluation of the Cerebral and Cerebellar White Matter Development in Pediatric Age Group using Quantitative Diffusion Tensor Imaging
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Age-dependent changes in the normal cerebral white matter have been reported; however, there is no study on normal cerebellar white matter maturation in developing brain using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). We performed DTI in 21 children who had normal neurological assessment along with no evidence of any abnormality on imaging. The aim of this study was to compare the age-related changes in fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) quantified from cerebral white matter (splenium and genu of the corpus callosum and posterior limb of the internal capsule) and cerebellar white matter (middle cerebellar peduncles, superior cerebellar peduncles, and inferior cerebellar peduncles) regions in healthy children ranging in age from birth to 132 months. Log-linear regression model showed best fit to describe the age-related changes in FA and MD both for cerebral and cerebellar white matter. In cerebral white matter, an initial sharp increase in FA was observed up to the age of 24 months followed by a gradual increase up to 132 months. In cerebellar white matter, sharp increase in FA was observed up to 36 months, which then followed a gradual increase. However, MD showed a sharp decrease in cerebral white matter up to 24 months followed by a more gradual decrease thereafter, while in cerebellar white matter after an initial decrease (6 months), it followed a stable pattern. This study provides normative database of brain white matter development from neonates to childhood. This quantitative information may be useful for assessing brain maturation in patients with developmental delay of the cerebral and cerebellar white matter.