Moving beyond injury: Prenatal hypoxia ischemia diffusely disrupts cerebral development via neuronal dysmaturation

Survivors of preterm birth commonly display diffuse disturbances in cerebral growth that involve multiple cortical and subcortical structures. The basis of this impaired growth has commonly been attributed to widespread neuronal degeneration at a critical window in cerebral development. Our recent studies have found that immature cerebral neurons in the cortex, subplate and basal ganglia are surprisingly resistant to cell death at a time in development when the preterm white matter is particularly susceptible to moderately severe ischemia that triggers degeneration of oligodendrocyte progenitors. Nevertheless, a transient ischemic insult causes persistent disturbances in neuronal maturation, which have been defined by morphometry and electrophysiology.