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Structural brain maturation differs between preterm and term piglets, whereas brain activity does not

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AIM: The aim of the study was to investigate whether amplitude-integrated electroencephalography (aEEG) and cerebral magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in preterm piglets would provide measures of cerebral functional, microstructural and anatomical maturation, which might reflect the signs of functional brain immaturity, documented in preterm piglets.

METHODS: During July-October 2013 at the NEOMUNE Centre, Copenhagen University, Denmark, 31 preterm (90% gestation) and 10 term piglets underwent aEEG on days 1, 2, 4 and 11, and MRI on day 25. Physical activity levels were recorded.

RESULTS: Preterm showed delayed neonatal arousal and physical activity, relative to term piglets. Preterm piglets had lower growth rates and brain volume than term piglets, but aEEG patterns were similar. MRI mean diffusivity was also similar, but fractional anisotropy (FA) was lower in preterm piglets (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Functional brain maturation, as assessed by aEEG, was relatively advanced in preterm piglets. Conversely, the low FA in the preterm piglets suggests that the white matter microstructure remains less mature in preterm compared to term piglets at postnatal day 25. The results might be utilised to define whether and how preterm piglets may contribute to preclinical models for brain development in preterm infants.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa paediatrica
Volume108
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)637-644
Number of pages8
ISSN1651-2227
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

ID: 58187359