Thalamic changes in a preterm sample with periventricular leukomalacia: correlation with white-matter integrity and cognitive outcome at school age

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Leire Zubiaurre-Elorza
  • Sara Soria-Pastor
  • Carme Junqué
  • Dolors Segarra
  • Núria Bargalló
  • Camila Romano-Berindoague
  • Alfons Macaya

Colleges, School and Institutes


INTRODUCTION: Thalamic abnormalities have been well documented in preterms with periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), although their contribution to long-term cognitive dysfunctions has not been thoroughly investigated.

RESULTS: Significant differences between groups were observed for global thalamic volume. Neuropsychological assessments showed that preterms with PVL scored within the normal range, although significantly below controls in the full intelligence quotient and the specific cognitive domains of processing speed and working memory. Correlations of several thalamic regions with Working Memory Index and FIQ were found in the PVL group. Moreover, thalamic atrophy correlated with white-matter (WM) damage indexes (fractional anisotropy and radial diffusivity) assessed by diffusion tensor imaging.

DISCUSSION: The findings suggest that thalamic damage is a common correlate of WM microstructural alterations and might be involved in the cognitive deficits seen in premature infants with PVL at school age.

METHODS: We analyzed the impact of PVL-associated thalamic injury on cognitive status at school age and its correlation with WM integrity as measured by magnetic resonance imaging techniques. Thalamic volume and shape of 21 preterm children with PVL were compared with those of 11 preterm children of similar gestational age and birth weight with no evidence of focal WM abnormality.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-60
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number4 Pt 1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


  • Adolescent, Anisotropy, Brain, Child, Cognition, Cohort Studies, Diffusion Tensor Imaging, Female, Gestational Age, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Infant, Premature, Leukomalacia, Periventricular, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Pregnancy, Thalamus