Post-mortem cerebral magnetic resonance imaging T1 and T2 in fetuses, newborns and infants

Sudhin Thayyil, Enrico De Vita, Neil J Sebire, Alan Bainbridge, David Thomas, Roxanne Gunny, Kling Chong, Mark F Lythgoe, Xavier Golay, Nicola J Robertson, Ernest B Cady, Andrew M Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


UNLABELLED: Post-mortem magnetic resonance imaging (PM MRI) of brain is increasingly used in clinical practice; understanding of normal PM contrast to noise ratio (CNR), T1 and T2 values relaxation times is important for optimisation and accurate interpretation of PM MRI.

METHODS: We obtained T1- and T2-weighted images at 1.5 T. In the first phase of the study, we calculated CNR in twelve brain regions in 5 newborn infants after death and compared this with CNR from 5 infants during life. In the second phase, we measured deep grey matter (GM) and white matter (WM) T1 post-mortem in 18 fetuses and T1 and T2 post-mortem 6 infants prior to autopsy.

RESULTS: Phase I: post-mortem T1- and T2-weighted CNRs were lower in most brain regions than during life. Phase II: compared with in vivo, all post-mortem images lacked GM-WM contrast and had high T2-weighted WM signal intensity. Mean (SD) post-mortem T1 in white and deep gray matter were respectively 1898 (327)ms and 1514 (202)ms in fetuses (p>0.05) and 1234 (180)ms and 1016 (161)ms in infants and newborns (p>0.05). Mean (SD) post-mortem T2 was 283 (11)ms in WM and 182 (18)ms in deep GM in infants and newborns (p<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Post-mortem T1 and T2 values are higher than those reported from live cases. The difference between T1 values in GM and WM reduce after death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e232-238
JournalEuropean journal of radiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • Autopsy
  • Brain/pathology
  • Female
  • Fetus
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods
  • Male
  • Postmortem Changes


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