Foetal growth determines cerebral ventricular volume in infants - The Generation R Study

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The cerebral ventricular system is a marker of brain development and a predictor of neurodevelopmental outcome. In premature or dysmature neonates, neuroanatomical structures including the ventricular system appear to be altered. The present study aims to provide information on the association between foetal growth and neonatal cerebral ventricular size in the normal population. Within the Generation R Study, a : population-based cohort study, we used three-dimensional cranial ultrasound to determine lateral ventricular volume in 778 term infants aged 4-12 weeks. Foetal growth characteristics were repeatedly measured in early, mid- and late pregnancy and analysed in relation to ventricular volume divided by head circumference. Results revealed positive associations between foetal head circumference in late pregnancy and log-transformed ventricular volume (beta= 0.077, 95% confidence interval (0.017; 0.136), equivalent to a 7.7% increase in ventricular volume per standard deviation of head circumference). Similarly, in a per week-longer gestational duration, ventricular volume in infancy was 6.0% larger. Multilevel modelling demonstrated that reduced growth of foetal head circumference and biparietal diameter during pregnancy were associated with decreased ventricular volume in infancy. In conclusion, foetal maturation is positively associated to cerebral ventricular size in term infants. Larger ventricular size in term infants needs to be distinguished from ventricular enlargement due to intraventricular haemorrhage or white matter damage in premature or dysmature infants. Moreover, the naturally occurring enlargement of ventricles during infancy should be considered in interpreting reports on increased ventricular volumes in several neuropsychiatric disorders. (C) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1491-1498
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Research programs

  • EMC MGC-02-52-01-A
  • EMC MM-03-54-04-A
  • EMC MM-04-54-08-A
  • EMC NIHES-01-64-02
  • EMC NIHES-03-30-01
  • EMC NIHES-03-30-03
  • EMC NIHES-04-55-01

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