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J Neurol. 2015 Aug;262(8):1927-35. doi: 10.1007/s00415-015-7788-2. Epub 2015 Jun 5.

Cerebellar neurochemical alterations in spinocerebellar ataxia type 14 appear to include glutathione deficiency.

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Department of Neurology, Charité, Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charitéplatz 1, 10117, Berlin, Germany,


Autosomal dominant ataxia type 14 (SCA14) is a rare usually adult-onset progressive disorder with cerebellar neurodegeneration caused by mutations in protein kinase C gamma. We set out to examine cerebellar and extracerebellar neurochemical changes in SCA14 by MR spectroscopy. In 13 SCA14 patients and 13 healthy sex- and age-matched controls, 3-T single-voxel brain proton MR spectroscopy was performed in a cerebellar voxel of interest (VOI) at TE = 30 ms to obtain a neurochemical profile of metabolites with short relaxation times. In the cerebellum and in additional VOIs in the prefrontal cortex, motor cortex, and somatosensory cortex, a second measurement was performed at TE = 144 ms to mainly extract the total N-acetyl-aspartate (tNAA) signal besides the signals for total creatine (tCr) and total choline (tCho). The cerebellar neurochemical profile revealed a decrease in glutathione (6.12E-06 ± 2.50E-06 versus 8.91E-06 ± 3.03E-06; p = 0028) and tNAA (3.78E-05 ± 5.67E-06 versus 4.25E-05 ± 5.15E-06; p = 0023) and a trend for reduced glutamate (2.63E-05 ± 6.48E-06 versus 3.15E-05 ± 7.61E-06; p = 0062) in SCA14 compared to controls. In the tNAA-focused measurement, cerebellar tNAA (296.6 ± 42.6 versus 351.7 ± 16.5; p = 0004) and tCr (272.1 ± 25.2 versus 303.2 ± 31.4; p = 0004) were reduced, while the prefrontal, somatosensory and motor cortex remained unaffected compared to controls. Neuronal pathology in SCA14 detected by MR spectroscopy was restricted to the cerebellum and did not comprise cortical regions. In the cerebellum, we found in addition to signs of neurodegeneration a glutathione reduction, which has been associated with cellular damage by oxidative stress in other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Friedreich's ataxia.

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