White matter (WM) abnormalities have already been shown in presymptomatic (Pre-HD) and symptomatic HD subjects using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). In the present study, we examined the microstructure of the long-range large deep WM tracts by applying two different MRI approaches: Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) -based tractography, and T2∗ weighted (iron sensitive) imaging. We collected Pre-HD subjects (n = 25), HD patients (n = 25) and healthy control subjects (n = 50). Results revealed increased axial (AD) and radial diffusivity (RD) and iron levels in Pre-HD subjects compared to controls. Fractional anisotropy decreased between the Pre-HD and HD phase and AD/RD increased and although impairment was pervasive in HD, degeneration occurred in a pattern in Pre-HD. Furthermore, iron levels dropped for HD patients. As increased iron levels are associated with remyelination, the data suggests that Pre-HD subjects attempt to repair damaged deep WM years before symptoms occur but this process fails with disease progression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)