Volumetric analysis of the hypothalamus in Huntington Disease using 3T MRI: the IMAGE-HD Study

Sanaz Gabery, Nellie Georgiou-Karistianis, Sofia Hult Lundh, Rachel Y Cheong, Andrew J Churchyard, Phyllis Chua, Julie C Stout, Gary Francis Egan, Deniz Kirik, Asa Petersen

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Huntington disease (HD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder caused by an expanded CAG repeat in the huntingtin gene. Non-motor symptoms and signs such as psychiatric disturbances, sleep problems and metabolic dysfunction are part of the disease manifestation. These aspects may relate to changes in the hypothalamus, an area of the brain involved in the regulation of emotion, sleep and metabolism. Neuropathological and imaging studies using both voxel-based morphometry (VBM) of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as well as positron emission tomography (PET) have demonstrated pathological changes in the hypothalamic region during early stages in symptomatic HD. In this investigation, we aimed to establish a robust method for measurements of the hypothalamic volume in MRI in order to determine whether the hypothalamic dysfunction in HD is associated with the volume of this region. Using T1-weighted imaging, we describe a reproducible delineation procedure to estimate the hypothalamic volume which was based on the same landmarks used in histologically processed postmortem hypothalamic tissue. Participants included 36 prodromal HD (pre-HD), 33 symptomatic HD (symp-HD) and 33 control participants who underwent MRI scanning at baseline and 18 months follow-up as part of the IMAGE-HD study. We found no evidence of cross-sectional or longitudinal changes between groups in hypothalamic volume. Our results suggest that hypothalamic pathology in HD is not associated with volume changes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0117593
Number of pages18
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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