Callosal function in pediatric traumatic brain injury linked to disrupted white matter integrity

Emily L. Dennis, Monica U. Ellis, Sarah D. Marion, Yan Jin, Lisa Moran, Alexander Olsen, Claudia Kernan, Talin Babikian, Richard Mink, Christopher Babbitt, Jeffrey Johnson, Christopher C. Giza, Paul M. Thompson, Robert F. Asarnow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) often results in traumatic axonal injury and white matter(WM)damage, particularly to the corpus callosum (CC). Damage to the CC can lead to impaired performance on neurocognitive tasks, but there is a high degree of heterogeneity in impairment following TBI. Here we examined the relation between CC microstructure and function in pediatric TBI. We used high angular resolution diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) to evaluate the structural integrity of the CC in humans following brain injury in a sample of 32 children (23 males and 9 females) with moderate-to-severe TBI (msTBI) at 1–5 months postinjury, compared with well matched healthy control children. We assessed CC function through interhemispheric transfer time (IHTT) as measured using eventrelated potentials (ERPs), and related this to DWI measures of WM integrity. Finally, the relation between DWI and IHTT results was supported by additional results of neurocognitive performance assessed using a single composite performance scale. Half of the msTBI participants (16 participants) had significantly slower IHTTs than the control group. This slow IHTT group demonstrated lower CC integrity (lower fractional anisotropy and higher mean diffusivity) and poorer neurocognitive functioning than both the control group and the msTBI group with normal IHTTs. Lower fractional anisotropy—a common sign of impaired WM—and slower IHTTs also predicted poor neurocognitive function. This study reveals that there is a subset of pediatric msTBI patients during the post-acute phase of injury who have markedly impaired CC functioning and structural integrity that is associated with poor neurocognitive functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10202-10211
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number28
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Corpus callosum
  • DTI
  • ERP
  • Interhemispheric transfer time
  • Traumatic brain injury


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