Prenat Diagn. 2023 Sep 12. doi: 10.1002/pd.6436. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: To assess brain development in living fetuses with Down syndrome (DS) by biometric measurements on fetal brain magnetic resonance images (MRI).
METHODS: We scanned 10 MRIs of fetuses with confirmed trisomy 21 at birth and 12 control fetal MRIs without any detected anomalies. Fetal brain MRIs were analyzed using 14 fetal brain and skull biometric parameters. We compared measures between DS and controls in both raw MRIs and motion-corrected and anterior-posterior commissure-aligned images.
RESULTS: In the reconstructed images, the measured values of the height of the cerebellar vermis (HV) and anteroposterior diameter of the cerebellar vermis (APDV) were significantly smaller, and the anteroposterior diameter of the fourth ventricle (APDF) was significantly larger in fetuses with DS than controls. In the raw MRIs, the measured values of the right lateral ventricle were significantly larger in fetuses with DS than in controls. Logistic regression analyses revealed that a new parameter, the cerebellar-to-fourth-ventricle ratio (i.e., (APDV * Height of the vermis)/APDF), was significantly smaller in fetuses with DS than controls and was the most predictive to distinguish between fetuses with DS and controls.
CONCLUSIONS: The study revealed that fetuses with DS have smaller cerebellums and larger fourth ventricles compared to the controls.