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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Hum. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2019.00254

Maturation of corticospinal tracts in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy assessed by diffusion tensor imaging and transcranial magnetic stimulation

  • 1Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, United States

Aim: To assess changes in the developmental trajectory of corticospinal tracts maturation in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy (HCP).
Methods: Neuroimaging data were obtained from 36 children with HCP for both the more affected and less affected hemispheres, and, for purposes of direct comparison, between groups, 15 typically developing children. With diffusion tensor imaging, we estimated the mean fractional anisotropy, axial diffusivity, mean diffusivity, and radial diffusivity of the corticospinal tract, parameters indicative of factors including myelination and axon density. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was performed as a neurophysiologic measure of corticospinal tract integrity and organization. Resting motor threshold was obtained per hemisphere, per patient.
Results: We observed a significant axial diffusivity and mean diffusivity developmental trajectory, both of which were inversely related to age (decrease in axial diffusivity and diffusivity corresponding to increased age) in both hemispheres of typically developing children (p<0.001). This maturation process was absent in both more affected and less affected hemispheres of children with HCP. Additionally, the TMS-derived previously established resting motor threshold developmental trajectory was preserved in the less affected hemisphere of children with HCP (n=26; p<0.0001) but this trajectory was absent in the more affected hemisphere.
Conclusions: Corticospinal tract maturation arrests in both hemispheres of children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy, possibly reflecting perinatal disruption of corticospinal tract myelination and axonal integrity.

Keywords: Hemiplegic cerebral palsy, Corticospinal tracts, development, maturation, Transcrania magnetic stimulation

Received: 27 Feb 2019; Accepted: 08 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Hubert Preissl, Institute for Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases (IDM), Germany

Reviewed by:

Martin V. Sale, University of Queensland, Australia
Giovanni Pellegrino, Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill University, Canada  

Copyright: © 2019 Papadelis, Kaye, Shore, Snyder, Grant and Rotenberg. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Christos Papadelis, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, Massachusetts, United States, christos.papadelis@childrens.harvard.edu