Altered corpus callosum structure in adolescents with cerebral palsy: connection to gait and balance

Julia Jaatela*, Timo Nurmi, Jaakko Vallinoja, Helena Mäenpää, Viljami Sairanen, Harri Piitulainen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common motor disorder in childhood. Recent studies in children with CP have associated weakened sensorimotor performance with impairments in the major brain white-matter (WM) structure, corpus callosum (CC). However, the relationship between CC structure and lower extremity performance, specifically gait and balance, remains unknown. This study investigated the transcallosal WM structure and lower limb motor stability performance in adolescents aged 10-18 years with spastic hemiplegic (n = 18) or diplegic (n = 13) CP and in their age-matched controls (n = 34). The modern diffusion-weighted MRI analysis included the diffusivity properties of seven CC subparts and the transcallosal lower limb sensorimotor tract of the dominant hemisphere. Children with CP had comprehensive impairments in the cross-sectional area, fractional anisotropy, and mean diffusivity of the CC and sensorimotor tract. Additionally, the extent of WM alterations varied between hemiplegic and diplegic subgroups, which was seen especially in the fractional anisotropy values along the sensorimotor tract. The diffusion properties of transcallosal WM were further associated with static stability in all groups, and with dynamic stability in healthy controls. Our novel results clarify the mechanistic role of the corpus callosum in adolescents with and without CP offering valuable insight into the complex interplay between the brain's WM organization and motor performance. A better understanding of the brain basis of weakened stability performance could, in addition, improve the specificity of clinical diagnosis and targeted rehabilitation in CP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1901-1915
Number of pages15
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Diffusion-weighted MRI
  • Interhemispheric
  • Stability
  • Tractography
  • Transcallosal


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