Clinical Neuroscience

Gray matter atrophy in presymptomatic Huntington’s patients

KIRÁLY András1, KINCSES Zsigmond Tamás1,2, SZABÓ Nikoletta1,2, TÓTH Eszter1, CSETE Gergő1, FARAGÓ Péter1, VÉCSEI László1,3

JULY 30, 2016

Clinical Neuroscience - 2016;69(07-08)


Background - Huntington’s disease is a progressive disease in which neurodegeneration is on-going from the early presymptomatic phase. Development of sensitive biomarkers in this presymptomatic stage that are able to monitor the disease progression and test the efficacy of putative neuroprotective treatments are essential. Methods - Seven presymptomatic Huntington mutation carriers and ten age-matched healthy controls were recruited. Six of the patients participated in a 24 months longitudinal study having MRI scans 12 and 24 months after the baseline measurements. High resolution T1 weighted images were carried out and voxel based morphometry was used to analyse the data. Apart of group differences, correlation of CAG repeat number with focal cortical thickness and with global gray matter volume was calculated. Results - Focal cortical atrophy was found bilaterally in the superior temporal sulcus and in the left middle frontal gyrus in presymptomatic Huntington patients in whom no sign of cognitive or motor deterioration was detected. Global gray matter atrophy (p<0.048) and decreased total brain volume was found. The number of CAG triplets showed no correlation with the focal gray matter atrophy and total brain volume. Strong correlation between the CAG repeat number and global gray matter volume was found (p<0.016). Conclusion - Cortical atrophy is apparent in the early, presymptomatic stage of the disease. With further validation in large patient sample atrophy measure could be biomarker of disease progression and putatively of neurodegeneration.


  1. Department of Neurology, Albert Szent-Györgyi Clinical Center, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary
  2. International Clinical Research Center, St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno, Brno, Czech Republic
  3. Neuroscience Research Group of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary



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