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Neuroimaging in Friedreich's ataxia : new approaches and clinical aplication

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Thiago Junqueira Ribeiro de Rezende
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Institution: Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Faculdade de Ciências Médicas
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Friedreich¿s ataxia (FRDA) is the most common autosomal-recessive ataxia worldwide; it is characterized by early onset, sensory abnormalities and slowly progressive ataxia. Besides that, most of neuroimaging studies have been focused only in infratentorial structures of adult patients. Furthermore, studies comparing different phenotypes of disease does not exist. Therefore, the objective of this study is to assess, using multimodal magnetic (MRI) resonance imaging, patients with Friedreich ataxia to better comprehend the progression of brain damage, to identify the pattern of damage across disease phenotypes, to identify areas with abnormal iron deposits in the brain and to characterize the structures initially damaged in early disease stages. To accomplish that, we enrolled 25 adult patients with classical FRDA, 13 patients with late-onset FRDA and 12 pediatric patients. The FARS scale was employed to quantify the disease severity. To assess the structural damage in gray and white matter, we acquired T1-weighted, T2-weighted and DTI images of the brain. To evaluate these images, we used the following tools: FreeSurfer, T1 MultiAtlas, SPM, DTI MultiAtlas, SpineSeg and TBSS. After group comparisons, there was widespread microstructural damage in the cerebral white matter, including cerebellar peduncles, corpus callosum and pyramidal tracts of patients with FRDA. We also found gray matter volumetric reduction in the dentate nuclei of the cerebellum, brainstem and motor cortex. We did not find volumetric reduction over time, but there was progressive white matter microstructural damage in the corpus callosum, pyramidal tracts and superior cerebellar peduncles after 1 year of follow-up. Regarding the disease phenotypes, we found that both classical FRDA and LOFA have similar, but not identical neuroimaging signatures. Although subtle, the structural differences might help to explain the phenotypic differences seen in both conditions. The corticospinal tracts are damaged in both conditions, but more severely in the late-onset FRDA group, which may explain why pyramidal signs are more evident in the latter subgroup. We failed to identify iron deposits in brain regions other than the dentate nuclei of patients with FRDA. Finally, we found that the spinal cord and inferior cerebellar peduncles are the structures compromised in pediatric patients with FRDA (AU)

FAPESP's process: 14/19786-7 - Automated quantification of transverse relaxation time: identification of iron deposits in the brain
Grantee:Thiago Junqueira Ribeiro de Rezende
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate