Normal centrolineal myelination of the callosal splenium reflects the development of the cortical origin and size of its commissural fibers

Abstract

Commissural white matter fibers comprising the callosal splenium are diverse. Subsections of the splenium myelinate at different times, in a centrolineal manner. The aims of this study are to depict the normal callosal splenium myelination pattern and to distinguish the transient age-related mid splenium hypointensity from pathology. We reviewed 131 consecutive brain MRIs in patients between ages 3 and 6 months from a single academic children’s hospital. Patients that were preterm, hydrocephalic, and/or had volume loss were excluded. Fifty total MR exams that included T1-weighted MR imaging (T1WI), T2-weighted MR imaging (T2WI), and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) were reviewed. Regions of callosal splenium myelination manifested by T1 and T2 shortening were evaluated. Tractography was performed with seeds placed over the posterior, mid, and anterior splenium to define the origin, destination, and course of traversing fibers. Splenium signal varied significantly from 3 to 6 months, with distinct age-related trends. On T1WI, the splenium was hypointense at 3 months (12/13), centrally hypointense/peripherally hyperintense at 4 months (15/16), and hyperintense at 6 months (10/11). Tractography revealed three distinct white matter tract populations: medial occipital (posterior); precuneus, posterior cingulate, and medial temporal (middle); and postcentral gyri (anterior). Specific commissural fiber components of the splenium myelinate at different times. The transient developmental mid splenium hypointensity on T1WI corresponds to tracts from the associative cortex, principally the precuneus. Heterogeneous splenium signal alteration in patients ages 3–6 months is a normal developmental phenomenon that should not be confused with pathologic lesions.

DOI: 10.1007/s00234-014-1323-5

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Cite this paper

@article{Whitehead2014NormalCM, title={Normal centrolineal myelination of the callosal splenium reflects the development of the cortical origin and size of its commissural fibers}, author={Matthew T Whitehead and Anand Dorai Raju and Asim F. Choudhri}, journal={Neuroradiology}, year={2014}, volume={56}, pages={333-338} }