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Exp Neurol. 1998 Dec;154(2):663-72.

Regional specificity of brain atrophy in Huntington's disease.

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Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, High Street, Randwick, 2031. Australia.


The present study analyzes the relationship between cortical and subcortical brain volumes in patients with Huntington's disease. The brains of seven patients with a clinical diagnosis and positive family history of Huntington's disease and 12 controls were collected at autopsy with consent from relatives. Detailed clinical assessments were available for all study subjects with genotype confirmation for patients with Huntington's disease. Volume analysis of the brain on serial 3-mm coronal slices was performed as previously described. All patients with Huntington's disease exhibited significant brain atrophy resulting from volume reductions in both cortical and subcortical grey matter. Atrophy of the cortex was relatively uniform, although the medial temporal lobe structures were spared. The caudate nucleus and putamen were strikingly reduced in all cases and this atrophy correlated with the severity of cortical atrophy, suggesting an associated disease process. The rate of cortical but not subcortical atrophy correlated with CAG repeat numbers. Loss of frontal white matter correlated with both cortical and striatal atrophy. Age of onset of chorea correlated with the amount of subcortical atrophy, while duration of chorea correlated negatively with atrophy of the white matter. These results suggest a more widespread and global disease process in patients with Huntington's disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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