BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Structural MR imaging does not enable reliable differentiation of spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) types 1 and 2 (SCA1 and SCA2), and imaging may be normal during the first years after the onset of symptoms. We aimed at determining whether measurements of the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA) may enable their differentiation. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We enrolled 14 patients with SCA1, 11 with SCA2, and 9 age-matched controls. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was performed on a 1.5T scanner, with b = 1000s/mm2 and 12 directions. ADC and FA were measured by means of regions of interest, positioned in the corticospinal tract at the level of the cerebral peduncle and at the level of the pons, in the transverse pontine fibers, in the superior and middle cerebellar peduncle, and in the hemispheric cerebellar white matter. RESULTS: With respect to controls, the ADC was significantly elevated in the middle cerebellar peduncle and in hemispheric white matter in SCA1, and in all regions under consideration in SCA2. It was significantly higher in SCA2 than in SCA1 in all regions under consideration. With respect to controls, the FA was significantly reduced in all regions under consideration in SCA1 and in SCA2. It was significantly lower in SCA2 than in SCA1 in the transverse pontine fibers and in the corticospinal tract at the level of the cerebral peduncle. Correlations with clinical scores were found. CONCLUSIONS: DTI did not enable differentiation between SCA1 and SCA2. However, strongly significant differences between the 2 subtypes and with respect to controls and correlations with clinical scores were found.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology