Aim: To evaluate mammillary body abnormalities in school-age children without cerebral palsy treated with therapeutic hypothermia for neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (cases) and matched controls, and associations with cognitive outcome, hippocampal volume, and diffusivity in the mammillothalamic tract (MTT) and fornix.
Method: Mammillary body abnormalities were scored from T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in 32 cases and 35 controls (median age [interquartile range] 7 years [6 years 7 months-7 years 7 months] and 7 years 4 months [6 years 7 months-7 years 7 months] respectively). Cognition was assessed using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fourth Edition. Hippocampal volume (normalized by total brain volume) was measured from T1-weighted MRI. Radial diffusivity and fractional anisotropy were measured in the MTT and fornix, from diffusion-weighted MRI using deterministic tractography.
Results: More cases than controls had mammillary body abnormalities (34% vs 0%; p < 0.001). Cases with abnormal mammillary bodies had lower processing speed (p = 0.016) and full-scale IQ (p = 0.028) than cases without abnormal mammillary bodies, and lower scores than controls in all cognitive domains (p < 0.05). Cases with abnormal mammillary bodies had smaller hippocampi (left p = 0.016; right p = 0.004) and increased radial diffusivity in the right MTT (p = 0.004) compared with cases without mammillary body abnormalities.
Interpretation: Cooled children with mammillary body abnormalities at school-age have reduced cognitive scores, smaller hippocampi, and altered MTT microstructure compared with those without mammillary body abnormalities, and matched controls.
- DIFFUSION MRI