Region-specific maturation of cerebral cortex in human fetal brain: Diffusion tensor imaging and histology

Richa Trivedi, Rakesh K. Gupta, Nuzhat Husain, Ram K.S. Rathore, Sona Saksena, Savita Srivastava, Gyanendra K. Malik, Vinita Das, Mandakini Pradhan, Manoj K. Sarma, Chandra M. Pandey, Ponnada A. Narayana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Introduction: In this study, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) immunohistochemical analysis in different cortical regions in fetal brains at different gestational age (GA) were performed. Methods: DTI was performed on 50 freshly aborted fetal brains with GA ranging from 12 to 42 weeks to compare age-related fractional anisotropy (FA) changes in different cerebral cortical regions that include frontal, parietal, occipital, and temporal lobes at the level of thalami. GFAP immunostaining was performed and the percentage of GFAP-positive areas was quantified. Results: The cortical FA values in the frontal lobe peaked at around 26 weeks of GA, occipital and temporal lobes at around 20 weeks, and parietal lobe at around 23 weeks. A significant, but modest, positive correlation (r=0.31, p=0.02) was observed between cortical FA values and percentage area of GFAP expression in cortical region around the time period during which the migrational events are at its peak, i.e., GA≤28 weeks for frontal cortical region and GA≤22 weeks for rest of the lobes. Conclusions: The DTI-derived FA quantification with its GFAP immunohistologic correlation in cortical regions of the various lobes of the cerebral hemispheres supports region-specific migrational and maturational events in human fetal brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-576
Number of pages10
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Fetal brain
  • Fractional anisotropy
  • Glial fibrillary acidic protein
  • Regional cortical maturation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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