Functional connectivity MR imaging reveals cortical functional connectivity in the developing brain

Weili Lin, Q. Zhu, W. Gao, Y. Chen, C. H. Toh, M. Styner, G. Gerig, J. K. Smith, B. Biswal, J. H. Gilmore

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Unlike conventional functional MR imaging where external sensory/cognitive paradigms are needed to specifically activate different regions of the brain, resting functional connectivity MR imaging acquires images in the absence of cognitive demands (a resting condition) and detects brain regions, which are highly temporally correlated. Therefore, resting functional MR imaging is highly suited for the study of brain functional development in pediatric subjects. This study aimed to determine the temporal and spatial patterns of rfc in healthy pediatric subjects between 2 weeks and 2 years of age. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Rfc studies were performed on 85 children: 38 neonates (2-4 weeks of age), 26 one-year-olds, and 21 two-year-olds. All subjects were imaged while asleep; no sedation was used. Six regions of interest were chosen, including the primary motor, sensory, and visual cortices in each hemisphere. Mean signal intensity of each region of interest was used to perform correlation analysis pixel by pixel throughout the entire brain, identifying regions with high temporal correlation. RESULTS: Functional connectivity was observed in all subjects in the sensorimotor and visual areas. The percent brain volume exhibiting rfc and the strength of rfc continued to increase from 2 weeks to 2 years. The growth trajectories of the percent brain volume of rfc appeared to differ between the sensorimotor and visual areas, whereas the z-score was similar. The percent brain volume of rfc in the sensorimotor area was significantly larger than that in the visual area for subjects 2 weeks of age (P = .008) and 1-year-olds (P = .017) but not for the 2-year-olds. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that rfc in the sensorimotor precedes that in the visual area from 2 weeks to 1 year but becomes comparable at 2 years. In contrast, the comparable z-score values between the sensorimotor and visual areas for all age groups suggest a disassociation between percent brain volume and the strength of cortical rfc.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1883-1889
    Number of pages7
    JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
    Volume29
    Issue number10
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Nov 2008

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
    • Clinical Neurology

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