European Radiology

, Volume 27, Issue 7, pp 3013–3021 | Cite as

Structural brain alterations of Down’s syndrome in early childhood evaluation by DTI and volumetric analyses

  • Hediye Pınar Gunbey
  • Meltem Ceyhan Bilgici
  • Kerim Aslan
  • Arzu Ceylan Has
  • Methiye Gonul Ogur
  • Aslıhan Alhan
  • Lutfi Incesu
Magnetic Resonance



To provide an initial assessment of white matter (WM) integrity with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and the accompanying volumetric changes in WM and grey matter (GM) through volumetric analyses of young children with Down’s syndrome (DS).


Ten children with DS and eight healthy control subjects were included in the study. Tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) were used in the DTI study for whole-brain voxelwise analysis of fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) of WM. Volumetric analyses were performed with an automated segmentation method to obtain regional measurements of cortical volumes.


Children with DS showed significantly reduced FA in association tracts of the fronto-temporo-occipital regions as well as the corpus callosum (CC) and anterior limb of the internal capsule (p < 0.05). Volumetric reductions included total cortical GM, cerebellar GM and WM volume, basal ganglia, thalamus, brainstem and CC in DS compared with controls (p < 0.05).


These preliminary results suggest that DTI and volumetric analyses may reflect the earliest complementary changes of the neurodevelopmental delay in children with DS and can serve as surrogate biomarkers of the specific elements of WM and GM integrity for cognitive development.

Key Points

DS is the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability.

WM and GM structural alterations represent the neurological features of DS.

DTI may identify the earliest aging process changes.

DTI-volumetric analyses can serve as surrogate biomarkers of neurodevelopment in DS.


Down’s syndrome Brain MRI DTI Volumetry 



This paper was presented as an oral presentation at ECR 2016. The scientific guarantor of this publication is Hediye Pınar Gunbey. The authors of this manuscript declare no relationships with any companies whose products or services may be related to the subject matter of the article. The authors state that this work has not received any funding. Aslıhan Alhan kindly provided statistical advice for this manuscript. Institutional Review Board approval was obtained. Written informed consent was obtained from all subjects (patients) in this study. Methodology: prospective, cross-sectional study, performed at one institution.


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hediye Pınar Gunbey
    • 1
  • Meltem Ceyhan Bilgici
    • 1
  • Kerim Aslan
    • 1
  • Arzu Ceylan Has
    • 2
  • Methiye Gonul Ogur
    • 3
  • Aslıhan Alhan
    • 4
  • Lutfi Incesu
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Medicine, Department of RadiologyOndokuz Mayıs UniversityKurupelitTurkey
  2. 2.National Magnetic Resonance Research CenterBilkent UniversityAnkaraTurkey
  3. 3.Department of GeneticsOndokuz Mayıs UniversitySamsunTurkey
  4. 4.Department of StatisticsUfuk UniversityAnkaraTurkey

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