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Magn Reson Imaging. 2012 Dec;30(10):1527-33. doi: 10.1016/j.mri.2012.05.007. Epub 2012 Jul 24.

Monitoring the brain metabolites of children with acute encephalopathy caused by the H1N1 virus responsible for the 2009 influenza pandemic: a quantitative in vivo 1H MR spectroscopy study.

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Research Center for Charged Particle Therapy, National Institute of Radiological Sciences, 4-9-1 Anagawa, Inage-ku, Chiba 263-8555, Japan.



Influenza viral infection, which results in central nervous system dysfunction, is a major cause of acute encephalopathy (AE). The purpose of this study was to investigate the changes in the concentrations of brain metabolites in children with AE using single-voxel magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and to provide diagnostic information about the relationship between the symptoms of AE and metabolite concentrations.


The subjects were 10 children (mean age: 6.2 years; range: 1-13) with AE caused by the novel influenza A virus responsible for the 2009 influenza pandemic. The serial MRS data (TE/TR=30/5000 ms, 3 T) acquired from the basal ganglia (BG) and centrum semiovale (CS) of each patient were categorized into three periods: (1) initial neurological symptom presentation and the start of treatment (n=10), (2) short-term follow-up (n=9) and (3) long-term follow-up (n=3). As controls, the magnetic resonance (MR) spectra of eight age-matched children were also investigated.


In both regions, the concentrations of the major metabolites (N-acetylaspartate, creatine, choline, myo-inositol, glutamate/glutamine complex and glutamate) only showed minor fluctuations between the three periods. On the other hand, higher levels of taurine (Tau) were observed in the BG during the second period (P=.005), and increased levels of glucose were observed in the CS during the first (P=.005) and second (P=.036) periods.


Serial monitoring of brain metabolite changes was carried out with a clinical MR system. The concentrations of major metabolites only displayed very minor fluctuations in response to mild H1N1-related AE. However, a higher Tau concentration was found to be associated with neurological symptoms. Further studies are required to improve our understanding of the detailed activity of Tau in AE.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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