Morphological regionalization using fetal magnetic resonance images of normal developing brains

Hui Hsin Hu, Wan Yuo Guo, Hui Yun Chen, Po Shan Wang, Chih I. Hung, Jen Chuen Hsieh, Yu Te Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Regional differences in human brain development during infancy have been studied for many years, but little is known about how regionalization of the brain proceeds during intrauterine life. We investigated the regionalization of cerebral volume and cortical convolutions based on the volumetric magnetic resonance images (MRIs) of 43 fetuses, ranging from 21 to 37 weeks of gestation. Two plausible parcellations of MRI are proposed, and curvature index together with gyrification index are used to quantify the regional cortical convolutions. Our results elucidate that the cortical foldings among different brain regions develop at comparable rates, suggesting a similar uniformity of changes in size of the cortical sheet in these regions over time. On the contrary, the growth of the cerebral volume presents regional difference, with the frontal and parieto-temporal regions growing significantly faster than other regions due to the contribution from expansion of basal ganglia. This quantitative regional information suggests that cerebral volume is not a relevant parameter to measure in relation to gyrification, and that the size of the cortical sheet is more likely to be directly related to cortical folding. The availability of quantitative regional information on normal fetal brains in utero will allow clinical application of this information when probing neurodevelopmental disorders in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1560-1567
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • Cerebral volume
  • Curvature
  • Growth rate
  • Gyrification index


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