Background: Preterm infants are at risk for neurodevelopmental impairment. Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) further increases this risk. Brain imaging studies are often utilized at or near term-equivalent age to determine later prognosis. Objective: To evaluate the association between intrauterine growth and regional brain volume on MRI scans performed in preterm infants at or near term-equivalent age. Methods: This is a retrospective case-control study of 24 infants born at gestational age ≤30 weeks and cared for in a large, inner-city, academic neonatal intensive-care unit from 2012 to 2013. Each IUGR infant was matched with 1-2 appropriate for gestational age (AGA) infants who served as controls. Predischarge MRI scans routinely obtained at ≥36 weeks' adjusted age were analyzed for regional brain volumetric differences. We examined the association between IUGR and thalamic, basal ganglion, and cerebellar brain volumes in these preterm infants. Results: Compared to AGA infants, IUGR infants had a smaller thalamus (7.88 vs. 5.87 mL, p = 0.001) and basal ganglion (8.87 vs. 6.92 mL, p = 0.002) volumes. There was no difference in cerebellar volumes between the two study groups. Linear regression analyses revealed similar trends in the associations between IUGR and brain volumes after adjusting for sex, gestational age at birth, and postconceptual age and weight at MRI. Conclusions: Thalamus and basal ganglion volumes are reduced in growth-restricted preterm infants. These differences may preferentially impact neurodevelopmental outcomes. Further research is needed to explore these relationships.
- Brain volume
- Growth restriction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental Biology