Radial diffusivity as an imaging biomarker for early diagnosis of non-demented amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.Eur Radiol. 2018 Dec; 28(12):4940-4948.ER
To explore the sensitivity of potential DTI-based biomarkers in detecting microstructural changes for whole-brain white matter in early stage amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), analyze the relationship between the DTI indices and disease status, and further clarify potential brain regions for disease monitoring and clinical assessment.
Thirty-three non-demented ALS patients and 32 age- and gender-matched subjects participated in this study. DTI data were acquired via 3.0T MRI scanner. Maps of diffusion-related indices including fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD), and radial diffusivity (RD) were obtained. Tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) were used to investigate whole-brain white matter changes of each index. Correlation analyses between both brain-wide and volume-of-interest (VOI)-wide white matter alterations and clinical factors including ALSFRS-R scores, disease duration, and progression rate were performed.
Compared to healthy subjects, ALS patients showed significantly increased RD, MD and reduced FA, mainly along the corticospinal tract (CST) and the body of corpus callosum (CC). Increases in RD were broader than decreases in FA, in CST of both hemispheres. Meanwhile, involvement of several extra-motor regions was also revealed by RD. Significant positive correlation between ALSFRS-R scores and FA, negative correlation between ALSFRS-R and RD were found in left CST.
RD may be the most sensitive biomarker for the detection of early demyelination of white matter. Both RD and FA may serve as objective biomarkers for disease severity assessment. CST may be the most affected brain region in non-demented ALS.
• Changes in RD were broader than those in FA in bilateral CST. • Involvement of extra-motor regions was uncovered by RD. • FA and RD in CST were related to ALSFRS-R scores.