Background and purpose: Huntington's disease (HD) is a chronic progressive neurodegenerative disorder with a long presymptomatic period that opens a window for potential therapies aimed at neuroprotection. Neuroimaging offers the potential to monitor disease-related progression of the disease burden (DB) using model-based magnetization transfer imaging. Materials and methods: We have conducted a cross-sectional study to stratify healthy age-matched controls, premanifest and symptomatic HD patients (n = 30) according to their macromolecular depositions in the caudate nucleus. We employed a binary spinbath magnetization transfer (MT) method for a quantitative description of macromolecule deposits and interactions with their adjacent environment. results: A region-of-interest based fuzzy clustering analysis identified representative clusters for several stages of the disease course related to its progression: one cluster represented subjects with a high DB <268 that encompassed all symptomatic HD patients and one presymptomatic gene carrier. The next cluster represented the presymptomatic gene carriers with a very low DB >230 and healthy controls. Three further clusters represented transition zones between both DB levels (230-268) consisting of presymptomatic carriers with DB values increasing with decreasing distance from the cluster that indicated low DB and healthy age-matched controls. conclusion: The proposed binary spin-bath MT method offers the potential to monitor DB and progression in HD. The method may augment qualitative MT techniques since it depicts tissue changes related to interactions between macromolecules and protons in disease specific brain regions that follow the neurodegenerative process.Copyright © 2017 Wiest, Burgunder and Kiefer.
Wiest, R., Burgunder, J. M., & Kiefer, C. (2017). Model-based magnetization transfer imaging markers to characterize patients and asymptomatic gene carriers in huntington’s disease. Frontiers in Neurology, 8(SEP). https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2017.00465