Article: article from journal or magazin.
The distribution of structural neuropathology in pre-clinical Huntington's disease.
Publication types: Journal Article ; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov'tPublication Status: ppublish
Putative neuroprotective agents in Huntington's disease may have particular application before brain pathology becomes manifest clinically. If these agents were to be tested in clinical trials, a reliable marker of the burden and rate of progression of pathological change in the pre-clinical group would be needed. The present study investigates whether the Huntington's disease genotype is associated with regional differences in brain structure, particularly differences that could not be predicted from clinical or neuropsychological assessment. A secondary aim is to seek indirect evidence of pathological progression in the form of changes in local tissue volume with age, specific to the Huntington's disease genotype. Formal motor examination, neuropsychological assessment, and T(1)-weighted cerebral MRI were performed in 34 subjects who had undergone predictive genetic testing for Huntington's disease. Clinical and cognitive testing were performed blinded to gene status. A linear discriminant analysis revealed the combination of test scores (the 'optimal clinical score') which best differentiated 18 subjects carrying the Huntington's disease gene mutation (the 'gene-positive' group). Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) was used to identify regions of significant main effect of Huntington's disease gene status on grey and white matter volume and regions of significant interaction of gene status with age. In the gene-positive group, there was significant reduction in grey matter volume in the left striatum, bilateral insula, dorsal midbrain and bilateral intra-parietal sulcus relative to 'gene-negative' controls. There was a significant reduction of periventricular white matter volume with age bilaterally in the gene-positive relative to the gene-negative group. Changes remained significant when controlled for differences in optimal clinical score between subjects. This study provides evidence of distributed grey matter pathology and progressive white matter atrophy with age before clinical onset of Huntington's disease. This suggests that VBM may be useful in monitoring cross-sectional and longitudinal changes in brain structure in pre-clinical Huntington's disease and for determining the efficacy of neuroprotective agents.
Adult, Age of Onset, Brain/pathology, Brain/physiology, Female, Functional Laterality, Genomic Imprinting, Humans, Huntington Disease/genetics, Huntington Disease/pathology, Middle Aged, Parents, Pattern Recognition, Visual/physiology, Reference Values, Trinucleotide Repeats
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