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Multimodal assessment shows misalignment of structural and functional thalamocortical connectivity in children and adolescents born very preterm


Wehrle, Flavia M; Lustenberger, Caroline; Buchmann, Andreas; Latal, Beatrice; Hagmann, Cornelia Franziska; O'Gorman, Ruth L; Huber, Reto (2020). Multimodal assessment shows misalignment of structural and functional thalamocortical connectivity in children and adolescents born very preterm. NeuroImage, 215:116779.

Abstract

Thalamocortical connections are altered following very preterm birth but it is unknown whether structural and functional alterations are linked and how they contribute to neurodevelopmental deficits. We used a multimodal approach in 27 very preterm and 35 term-born children and adolescents aged 10 to 16 years: Structural thalamocortical connectivity was quantified with two measures derived from probabilistic tractography of diffusion tensor data, namely the volume of thalamic segments with cortical connections and mean fractional anisotropy (FA) within the respective segments. High-density sleep EEG was recorded and sleep spindles were identified at each electrode. Sleep spindle density and integrated spindle activity (ISA) were calculated to quantify functional thalamocortical connectivity. In term-born participants, the volume of the global thalamic segment with cortical connections was strongly related to sleep spindles across the entire head (mean r = .53 ± .10; range = .35 to .78). Regionally, the volume of the thalamic segment connecting to frontal brain regions correlated with sleep spindle density in two clusters of electrodes over fronto-temporal brain regions (.42 ± .06; .35 to .51 and .43 ± .08; .35 to .62) and the volume of the thalamic segment connecting to parietal brain regions correlated with sleep spindle density over parietal brain regions (mean r = .43 ± .07; .35 to .61). In very preterm participants, the volume of the thalamic segments was not associated with sleep spindles. In the very preterm group, mean FA within the global thalamic segment was negatively correlated with ISA over a cluster of frontal and temporo-occipital brain regions (mean r = -.53 ± .07; -.41 to -.72). No association between mean FA and ISA was found in the term-born group. With this multimodal study protocol, we identified a potential misalignment between structural and functional thalamocortical connectivity in children and adolescents born very preterm. Eventually, this may shed further light on the neuronal mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental sequelae of preterm birth.

Abstract

Thalamocortical connections are altered following very preterm birth but it is unknown whether structural and functional alterations are linked and how they contribute to neurodevelopmental deficits. We used a multimodal approach in 27 very preterm and 35 term-born children and adolescents aged 10 to 16 years: Structural thalamocortical connectivity was quantified with two measures derived from probabilistic tractography of diffusion tensor data, namely the volume of thalamic segments with cortical connections and mean fractional anisotropy (FA) within the respective segments. High-density sleep EEG was recorded and sleep spindles were identified at each electrode. Sleep spindle density and integrated spindle activity (ISA) were calculated to quantify functional thalamocortical connectivity. In term-born participants, the volume of the global thalamic segment with cortical connections was strongly related to sleep spindles across the entire head (mean r = .53 ± .10; range = .35 to .78). Regionally, the volume of the thalamic segment connecting to frontal brain regions correlated with sleep spindle density in two clusters of electrodes over fronto-temporal brain regions (.42 ± .06; .35 to .51 and .43 ± .08; .35 to .62) and the volume of the thalamic segment connecting to parietal brain regions correlated with sleep spindle density over parietal brain regions (mean r = .43 ± .07; .35 to .61). In very preterm participants, the volume of the thalamic segments was not associated with sleep spindles. In the very preterm group, mean FA within the global thalamic segment was negatively correlated with ISA over a cluster of frontal and temporo-occipital brain regions (mean r = -.53 ± .07; -.41 to -.72). No association between mean FA and ISA was found in the term-born group. With this multimodal study protocol, we identified a potential misalignment between structural and functional thalamocortical connectivity in children and adolescents born very preterm. Eventually, this may shed further light on the neuronal mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental sequelae of preterm birth.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Neurology
Life Sciences > Cognitive Neuroscience
Language:English
Date:1 July 2020
Deposited On:14 Jul 2020 15:27
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 15:01
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1053-8119
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116779
PubMed ID:32276056

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