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Cereb Cortex. 2012 Dec;22(12):2858-66. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhr360. Epub 2012 Jan 5.

Multimodal MRI analysis of the corpus callosum reveals white matter differences in presymptomatic and early Huntington's disease.

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Laboratory of Clinical and Behavioural Neurology, IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation, 00179 Rome, Italy.


Recent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies suggest that abnormalities in Huntington's disease (HD) extend to white matter (WM) tracts in early HD and even in presymptomatic stages. Thus, changes of the corpus callosum (CC) may reflect various aspects of HD pathogenesis. We recruited 17 HD patients, 17 pre-HD subjects, and 34 healthy age-matched controls. Three-dimensional anatomical MRI and diffusion tensor images of the brain were acquired on a 3T scanner. Combining region-of-interest analyses, voxel-based morphometry, and tract-based spatial statistics, we investigated callosal thickness, WM density, fractional anisotropy, and radial and axial diffusivities. Compared with controls, pre-HD subjects showed reductions of the isthmus, likely due to myelin damage. Compared with pre-HD subjects, HD patients showed reductions of isthmus and body, with axonal damage confined to the body. Compared with controls, HD patients had significantly decreased callosal measures in extended regions across almost the entire CC. At this disease stage, both myelin and axonal damage are detectable. Supplementary multiple regression analyses revealed that WM reduction density in the isthmus as well as Disease Burden scores allowed to predict the "HD development" index. While callosal changes seem to proceed in a posterior-to-anterior direction as the diseases progresses, this observation requires validation in future longitudinal investigations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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