Longitudinal Preterm Cerebellar Volume: Perinatal and Neurodevelopmental Outcome Associations

Lillian G. Matthews, T. E. Inder, L. Pascoe, K. Kapur, K. J. Lee, B. B. Monson, L. W. Doyle, D. K. Thompson, P. J. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Impaired cerebellar development is an important determinant of adverse motor and cognitive outcomes in very preterm (VPT) infants. However, longitudinal MRI studies investigating cerebellar maturation from birth through childhood and associated neurodevelopmental outcomes are lacking. We aimed to compare cerebellar volume and growth from term-equivalent age (TEA) to 7 years between VPT (< 30 weeks’ gestation or < 1250 g) and full-term children; and to assess the association between these measures, perinatal factors, and 7-year outcomes in VPT children, and whether these relationships varied by sex. In a prospective cohort study of 224 VPT and 46 full-term infants, cerebellar volumes were measured on MRI at TEA and 7 years. Useable data at either time-point were collected for 207 VPT and 43 full-term children. Cerebellar growth from TEA to 7 years was compared between VPT and full-term children. Associations with perinatal factors and 7-year outcomes were investigated in VPT children. VPT children had smaller TEA and 7-year volumes and reduced growth. Perinatal factors were associated with smaller cerebellar volume and growth between TEA and 7 years, namely, postnatal corticosteroids for TEA volume, and female sex, earlier birth gestation, white and deep nuclear gray matter injury for 7-year volume and growth. Smaller TEA and 7-year volumes, and reduced growth were associated with poorer 7-year IQ, language, and motor function, with differential relationships observed for male and female children. Our findings indicate that cerebellar growth from TEA to 7 years is impaired in VPT children and relates to early perinatal factors and 7-year outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)610-627
Number of pages18
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Brain
  • Cerebellum
  • Longitudinal studies
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Outcome assessment
  • Premature birth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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