Structural neuroimaging differentiates vulnerability from disease manifestation in Colombian families with Huntington's disease

del C. Valdés Hernández, Maria and Abu-Hussain, Janna and Qiu, Xinyi and Priller, Josef and Parra Rodríguez, Mario and Pino, Mariana and Báez, Sandra and Ibáñez, Agustín (2019) Structural neuroimaging differentiates vulnerability from disease manifestation in Colombian families with Huntington's disease. Brain and Behavior, 9 (8). e01343. ISSN 2162-3279

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    Abstract

    Introduction: The volume of the striatal structures has been associated with disease progression in individuals with Huntington's disease (HD) from North America, Europe, and Australia. However, it is not known whether the gray matter (GM) volume in the striatum is also sensitive in differentiating vulnerability from disease manifestation in HD families from a South-American region known to have high incidence of the disease. In addition, the association of enlarged brain perivascular spaces (PVS) with cognitive, behavioral, and motor symptoms of HD is unknown. Materials and Methods: We have analyzed neuroimaging indicators of global atrophy, PVS burden, and GM tissue volume in the basal ganglia and thalami, in relation to behavioral, motor, and cognitive scores, in 15 HD patients with overt disease manifestation and 14 first-degree relatives not genetically tested, which represent a vulnerable group, from the region of Magdalena, Colombia. Results: Poor fluid intelligence as per the Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices was associated with global brain atrophy (p = 0.002) and PVS burden (p ≤ 0.02) in HD patients, where the GM volume in all subcortical structures, with the exception of the right globus pallidus, was associated with motor or cognitive scores. Only the GM volume in the right putamen was associated with envy and MOCA scores (p = 0.008 and 0.015 respectively) in first-degree relatives. Conclusion: Striatal GM volume, global brain atrophy and PVS burden may serve as differential indicators of disease manifestation in HD. The Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices could be a cognitive test worth to consider in the differentiation of vulnerability versus overt disease in HD.