MRI assessment of myelination of motor and sensory pathways in the brain of preterm and term-born infants

Lilian T.L. Sie*, Marjo S. Van Der Knaap, Gerda Van Wezel-Meijler, Jacob Valk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A study was performed in 48 neurologically normal preterm and term-born infants, with a postconceptional age at MRI varying between 302/7 and 46 weeks and a mean age of 342/7 weeks. The purpose of the study was to determine the normal progress of myelination on MRI in that age range. T1-and T2-weighted images of the brain were assessed for changes in signal intensity of white matter relative to gray matter. Multiple sites in the brainstem, cerebellum and cerebral hemispheres were assessed separately. The findings were correlated with the ages of the infants. As judged from relative signal intensities, myelin was present at the postconceptional age of 30-34 weeks in the following structures: tegmentum pontis (in particular medial lemniscus), superior and inferior colliculi, decussation of the superior cerebellar peduncles, crura cerebri, ventrolateral thalamus, lateral globus pallidus, dorsolateral putamen, dentate nucleus, middle and superior cerebellar peduncles, vermis cerebelli, cortex bordering the central sulcus and hippocampus. Little progress in myelination was noticed up to the postconceptional age of 46 weeks. Between 34 and 46 weeks, myelin appeared in the lateral part of the posterior limb of the internal capsule and in the central part of the corona radiata and became more prominently visible in the cortex bordering the central sulcus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-105
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1997

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