In the companion paper by Vinall et al., MRI anisotropy measurements of water diffusion demonstrated that human cortical development is abnormal in survivors of preterm birth. Here we address the cellular basis for the abnormal cortical MRI.
The figure on the left (A) is the cortical neuron tracing that was used to generate the 3D structure on the right (B). From the 3D structure in B, a calculation of theoretical water diffusion along the cell's processes was generated. With this approach, it was determined that water diffusion (anisotropy) was abnormal in the immature cells from the ischemic animals when compared with controls.
The anisotropy disturbances predicted from the cell-based calculations were in close agreement with the anisotropy disturbances detected by MRI of the cerebral cortex.