Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Combination of PET, MR Imaging Shows White Matter Degeneration in Huntington’s Disease Patients

16.02.2006


Potential Exists to Possibly Prevent Disease Before Onset Symptoms Appear, Suggests Report in February’s Journal of Nuclear Medicine



Using both brain function (PET) and anatomical structure (MR) imaging studies, Italian researchers—within the context of an Italian-British collaboration—discovered that degenerative and dysfunctional events occur in individuals many years before the onset of Huntington’s disease—particularly in the brain’s white matter—an area not previously considered primarily involved with the disease. In fact, the brain’s white matter “progressively reduced” as individuals approached the first disease symptoms, according to a study published in February’s Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

“Our observations—made by analyzing the results of the largest group of subjects studied to date—may suggest new methodologies and drug trials for therapy,” said Ferdinando Squitieri, M.D., Ph.D., who works in the Neurogenetics Unit and Centre for Rare Diseases of IRCCS Neuromed in Pozzilli, Isernia, Italy. “It is possible to approach the disease at the presymptomatic stage by monitoring the brain tissue volumes and the basal ganglia and cortex dysfunction. If so, we may be able to prevent Huntington’s disease before onset symptoms by using proper drugs,” added the co-author of “Brain White-Matter Volume Loss and Glucose Hypometabolism Precede the Clinical Symptoms of Huntington’s Disease.”


Huntington’s Disease is a devastating, hereditary, degenerative brain disorder, which slowly diminishes an individual’s ability to walk, think, talk and reason. About one out of every 10,000 Americans has the disease, which has one of the highest rates of patient suicide, said Squitieri. The disease profoundly affects the lives of entire families, as an affected person becomes totally dependent on others for his or her care. Each child of a parent affected by the disease has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the gene that causes the disease.

The Huntington’s gene has been determined; however, it’s unclear how the gene leads to damage of nerve cells in the brain, including the basal ganglia and cerebral cortex. Medical researchers have been studying it in order to determine how it causes disease. At this time, there is no way to stop or reverse the course of the disease, which leads to death after 10 to 25 years. A genetic test is available to indicate whether an individual has inherited the gene, but the test doesn’t indicate at what age the disease will develop.

“Our findings are opening a new field in molecular medicine—the predictive medicine to prevent pathologies,” explained Squitieri. “Our study suggests that there’s a potential presymptomatic biomarker—a volumetric change of white matter—that can possibly be used for monitoring neuroprotective treatments,” he said. “For the first time, we are providing in vivo evidence that glial cells—the supportive cells in the central nervous system—are involved in early disease,” he noted.

More research needs to be done, and scientists need “to go through the basic science to find the real biological cause of such anatomical brain changes,” said Squitieri. White matter volume loss may become a potential presymptomatic biomarker, while grey matter volume loss (loss of neurons) may represent a marker of disease progression in individuals with Huntington’s, he said. Increased cerebrospinal fluid may be the best predictor of disease stage. Squitieri added that the participation and contribution of patients and their families to this type of study is crucial to further research of the disease.

Besides Squitieri, co-authors of “Brain White-Matter Volume Loss and Glucose Hypometabolism Precede the Clinical Symptoms of Huntington’s Disease” are Andrea Ciarmiello, M.D., and Secondo Lastoria, M.D., Nuclear Medicine Unit, IRCCS G. Pascale, Naples, Italy; Milena Cannella, Ph.D., and Maria Simonelli, DPM, Neurogenetics Unit, IRCCS Neuromed, Pozzilli, Isernia, Italy; Luigi Frati, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Experimental Medicine and Pathology, University La Sapienza of Rome, Rome, Italy, and IRCCS Neuromed, Pozzilli, Isernia, Italy; and David C. Rubinsztein, M.B., Ph.D., Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, England.

Maryann Verrillo | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.snm.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Better equipped in the fight against lung cancer
16.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Research reveals how order first appears in liquid crystals

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

Space-like gravity weakens biochemical signals in muscle formation

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

NIST puts the optical microscope under the microscope to achieve atomic accuracy

23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>