Background The entorhinal cortex serves as an important gateway between the cerebral cortex and the hippocampus.
Objective To investigate whether thinning of entorhinal cortex is associated with reduced cognitive skills in VLBW adolescents.
Design and Methods 49 VLBW (birth weight <1500 grams) and 58 control adolescents were examined at the age of 14–15 years with Wechsler Intelligence Scale WISC-III and different executive/attention function tests (Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, Stroop Test, CPT, Trail Making Test, Knox Cube Test). An automated MRI technique for morphometric analyses of cortical thickness was used.
Results The cortical surface model demonstrated 26 areas of regional cortical thinning (yellow) and thickening (blue) in the VLBW group compared with controls. Among these were the entorhinal cortices, the rostral part of the parahippocampal gyrus on both sides. In the VLBW group, thinning of the left entorhinal cortex (white) (fig 1) was correlated with low scores on the IQ subtests picture arrangement (p = 0.001) and block design (p = 0.035), resulting in low estimated performance (p = 0.003) and full scale IQ (p = 0.012). In addition, thinning of this area on both sides correlated with low performance on the executive/attention function tests, including aspects of working memory (fig 2).
Conclusions Entorhinal cortical thinning is related with low IQ and reduced executive functions in VLBW adolescents.