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PLoS One. 2017 Mar 20;12(3):e0173275. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0173275. eCollection 2017.

Different subregional metabolism patterns in patients with cerebellar ataxia by 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography.

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Department of Nuclear Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Neurology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


We evaluated cerebellar subregional metabolic alterations in patients with cerebellar ataxia, a representative disease involving the spinocerebellum. We retrospectively analyzed 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (18F-FDG PET) images in 44 patients with multiple system atrophy of the cerebellar type (MSA-C), 9 patients with spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) type 2, and 14 patients with SCA type 6 and compared with 15 patients with crossed cerebellar diaschisis (CCD) and 89 normal controls. Cerebellar subregional metabolism was assessed using 13 cerebellar subregions (bilateral anterior lobes [ANT], superior/mid/inferior posterior lobes [SUPP/MIDP/INFP], dentate nucleus [DN], anterior vermis [ANTV], and superior/inferior posterior vermis [SUPV/INFV]) to determine FDG uptake ratios. MSA-C and SCA type 2 showed severely decreased metabolic ratios in all cerebellar subregions compared to normal controls (ANT, 0.58 ± 0.08 and 0.50 ± 0.06 vs. 0.82 ± 0.07, respectively, p < 0.001). SCA type 6 showed lower metabolic ratios in almost all cerebellar subregions (ANT, 0.57 ± 0.06, p < 0.001) except INFV. Anterior-posterior lobe ratio measurements revealed that SCA type 2 (Right, 0.81 ± 0.05 vs. 0.88 ± 0.04, p < 0.001; Left, 0.83 ± 0.05 vs. 0.88 ± 0.04, p = 0.003) and SCA type 6 (Right, 0.72 ± 0.05 vs. 0.88 ± 0.04, p < 0.001; Left, 0.72 ± 0.05 vs. 0.88 ± 0.04, p < 0.001) showed preferential hypometabolism in the anterior lobe compared to normal controls, which was not observed in CCD and MSA-C. Asymmetric indices were higher in CCD and MSA-C than in normal controls (p < 0.001), whereas such differences were not found in SCA types 2 and 6. In summary, quantitative analysis of cerebellar subregional metabolism ratios revealed preferential involvement of the anterior lobe, corresponding to the spinocerebellum, in patients with cerebellar ataxia, whereas patients with CCD and MSA-C exhibited more asymmetric hypometabolism in the posterior lobe.

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