Altered hippocampal morphometry in infants born very preterm

Elly Dimya Htite, Niharika Gajawelli, Christine Saint-Martin, Miao Wei, Sarah Palmis, Yalin Wang, Pia Wintermark, Sean Deoni, Natasha Lepore, Marie Brossard-Racine

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Preliminary evidence suggests individuals born very-premature have smaller hippocampi on MRI when compared to term-born controls. Moreover, these volumetric reductions have been associated with various cognitive deficits. The hippocampus undergoes an intense period of postnatal volumetric growth during the first year of life. However, this period of development has only been characterized in post-mortem studies. Although volume gain has been previously delineated, changes in hippocampal shape remain undescribed during this unique period. The objective of this study was to characterize and compare morphometric development between very-preterm born infant and healthy controls throughout the first year of life using multivariate tensor-based morphometry (mTBM). We segmented left and right hippocampi from 133 T1-weighted images acquired from 20 very-preterm infants and 67 term-born controls between atbirth or term-equivalent age and 12 months of age. MRI were performed on a 3 Tesla scanner at 3-month intervals (i.e., term-equivalence, 3, 6, 9, 12 months). We used mTBM to compare shape between groups at each time-point. We found that subregions of the hippocampus including the dentate gyrus, CA2, CA3 and subiculum were morphometrically different, especially at term-equivalence age. Morphometric differences were less prominent at 3 and 6 months but reappeared at 9 and 12 months, particularly in the left hippocampus. Although hippocampal shape differences between very-preterm and healthy term-born infants seem to decrease during the first 6 months of life, atypical shape development reappeared at 9-12 months which likely highlights altered periods of morphologic development. Future long-term studies will inform if these developmental differences continue to increase or disappear in subsequent years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication17th International Symposium on Medical Information Processing and Analysis
EditorsEduardo Romero, Eduardo Tavares Costa, Jorge Brieva, Leticia Rittner, Marius George Linguraru, Natasha Lepore
ISBN (Electronic)9781510650527
StatePublished - 2021
Event17th International Symposium on Medical Information Processing and Analysis - Campinas, Brazil
Duration: Nov 17 2021Nov 19 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


Conference17th International Symposium on Medical Information Processing and Analysis


  • Hippocampus
  • MRI
  • MTBM
  • Morphometry
  • Neonates
  • Preterm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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