Discordance of prenatal and neonatal brain development in twins.


Journal Article

BACKGROUND: Discordance of birth weight has been observed in twin pairs, though little is known about prenatal and early neonatal discordance of head and brain size, and the role that zygosity and chorionicity play in discordances of early brain development in twins. AIMS: To compare prenatal and neonatal discordances of head size in monozygotic-monochorionic (MZ-MC), monozygotic-dichorionic (MZ-DC), and same-sex dizygotic-dichorionic twin pairs (DZ). STUDY DESIGN: Subjects prospectively had ultrasounds at 22 and 32 weeks gestational age, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain MRI after birth. SUBJECTS: 88 twin pairs recruited from two university hospital prenatal diagnostic clinics; 22 MZ-MC, 17 MZ-DC, and 49 same-sex DZ pairs. OUTCOME MEASURES: Discordance of head circumference (HC) and weight at 22 weeks, 32 weeks and birth, as well as intracranial volume (ICV) on neonatal MRI. RESULTS: There were no group differences in discordance of head circumference and weight on the 22 or 32 week ultrasounds, or at birth. MZ-MC twins tended to have numerically greater discordances of HC and weight. There was a significant group difference in ICV on neonatal MRI (ANOVA, p=0.0143), with DZ twins having significantly greater discordance than MZ-MC (p=0.028) or MZ-DC (p=0.0131) twins. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that zygosity and chorionicity do not contribute to significant discordances of head size in late prenatal development. DZ twins do have significantly greater discordances of ICV on neonatal MRI, suggesting a relatively greater genetic influence on brain growth in the first weeks after birth.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mukherjee, N; Kang, C; Wolfe, HM; Hertzberg, BS; Smith, JK; Lin, W; Gerig, G; Hamer, RM; Gilmore, JH

Published Date

  • March 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 85 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 171 - 175

PubMed ID

  • 18804925

Pubmed Central ID

  • 18804925

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1872-6232

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2008.07.008


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Ireland