ResearchPad - nervous-system https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Vitamin D Supplementation Rescues Aberrant NF-κB Pathway Activation and Partially Ameliorates Rett Syndrome Phenotypes in <i>Mecp2</i> Mutant Mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13342 Rett syndrome (RTT) is a severe, progressive X-linked neurodevelopmental disorder caused by mutations in the transcriptional regulator MECP2. We previously identified aberrant NF-κB pathway upregulation in brains of Mecp2-null mice and demonstrated that genetically attenuating NF-κB rescues some characteristic neuronal RTT phenotypes. These results raised the intriguing question of whether NF-κB pathway inhibitors might provide a therapeutic avenue in RTT. Here, we investigate whether the known NF-κB pathway inhibitor vitamin D ameliorates neuronal phenotypes in Mecp2-mutant mice. Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent among RTT patients, and we find that Mecp2-null mice similarly have significantly reduced 25(OH)D serum levels compared with wild-type littermates. We identify that vitamin D rescues aberrant NF-κB pathway activation and reduced neurite outgrowth of Mecp2 knock-down cortical neurons in vitro. Further, dietary supplementation with vitamin D in early symptomatic male Mecp2 hemizygous null and female Mecp2 heterozygous mice ameliorates reduced neocortical dendritic morphology and soma size phenotypes and modestly improves reduced lifespan of Mecp2-nulls. These results elucidate fundamental neurobiology of RTT and provide foundation that NF-κB pathway inhibition might be a therapeutic target for RTT.

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<![CDATA[Effect of experimental, morphological and mechanical factors on the murine spinal cord subjected to transverse contusion: A finite element study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_8463 Finite element models combined with animal experimental models of spinal cord injury provides the opportunity for investigating the effects of the injury mechanism on the neural tissue deformation and the resulting tissue damage. Thus, we developed a finite element model of the mouse cervical spinal cord in order to investigate the effect of morphological, experimental and mechanical factors on the spinal cord mechanical behavior subjected to transverse contusion. The overall mechanical behavior of the model was validated with experimental data of unilateral cervical contusion in mice. The effects of the spinal cord material properties, diameter and curvature, and of the impactor position and inclination on the strain distribution were investigated in 8 spinal cord anatomical regions of interest for 98 configurations of the model. Pareto analysis revealed that the material properties had a significant effect (p<0.01) for all regions of interest of the spinal cord and was the most influential factor for 7 out of 8 regions. This highlighted the need for comprehensive mechanical characterization of the gray and white matter in order to develop effective models capable of predicting tissue deformation during spinal cord injuries.

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<![CDATA[Reduced TUBA1A Tubulin Causes Defects in Trafficking and Impaired Adult Motor Behavior]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_8074 Newly born neurons express high levels of TUBA1A α-tubulin to assemble microtubules for neurite extension and to provide tracks for intracellular transport. In the adult brain, Tuba1a expression decreases dramatically. A mouse that harbors a loss-of-function mutation in the gene encoding TUBA1A (Tuba1aND/+) allows us to ask whether TUBA1A is important for the function of mature neurons. α-Tubulin levels are about half of wild type in juvenile Tuba1aND/+ brains, but are close to normal in older animals. In postnatal day (P)0 cultured neurons, reduced TUBA1A allows for assembly of less microtubules in axons resulting in more pausing during organelle trafficking. While Tuba1aND/+ mouse behavior is indistinguishable from wild-type siblings at weaning, Tuba1aND/+ mice develop adult-onset ataxia. Neurons important for motor function in Tuba1aND/+ remain indistinguishable from wild-type with respect to morphology and number and display no evidence of axon degeneration. Tuba1aND/+ neuromuscular junction (NMJ) synapses are the same size as wild-type before the onset of ataxia, but are reduced in size in older animals. Together, these data indicate that the TUBA1A-rich microtubule tracks that are assembled during development are essential for mature neuron function and maintenance of synapses over time.

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<![CDATA[EGFR Signaling Causes Morphine Tolerance and Mechanical Sensitization in Rats]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_8067 The safety and efficacy of opioids are compromised as analgesic tolerance develops. Opioids are also ineffective against neuropathic pain. Recent reports have suggested that inhibitors of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), a receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK), may have analgesic effects in cancer patients suffering from neuropathic pain. It has been shown that the platelet-derived growth factor receptor-β (PDGFR-β), an RTK that has been shown to interact with the EGFR, mediates opioid tolerance but does not induce analgesia. Therefore, we sought to determine whether EGFR signaling was involved in opioid tolerance and whether EGFR and PDGFR signaling could induce pain in rats. We found that gefitinib, an EGFR antagonist, eliminated morphine tolerance. In addition, repeated EGF administration rendered animals unresponsive to subsequent analgesic doses of morphine, a phenomenon we call “pre-tolerance.” Using a nerve injury model, we found that gefitinib alone was not analgesic. Rather, it reversed insensitivity to morphine analgesia (pre-tolerance) caused by the release of EGF by injured nerves. We also showed that repeated, but not acute EGF or PDGF-BB administration induced mechanical hypersensitivity in rats. EGFR and PDGFR-β signaling interacted to produce this sensitization. EGFR was widely expressed in primary sensory afferent cell bodies, demonstrating a neuroanatomical substrate for our findings. Taken together, our results suggest a direct mechanistic link between opioid tolerance and mechanical sensitization. EGFR antagonism could eventually play an important clinical role in the treatment of opioid tolerance and neuropathic pain that is refractory to opioid treatment.

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<![CDATA[Impaired Motor Recycling during Action Selection in Parkinson’s Disease]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_8059 Behavioral studies have shown that the human motor system recycles motor parameters of previous actions, such as movement amplitude, when programming new actions. Shifting motor plans toward a new action forms a particularly severe problem for patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), a disorder that, in its early stage, is dominated by basal ganglia dysfunction. Here, we test whether this action selection deficit in Parkinson’s patients arises from an impaired ability to recycle motor parameters shared across subsequent actions. Parkinson’s patients off dopaminergic medication (n = 16) and matched healthy controls (n = 16) performed a task that involved moving a handheld dowel over an obstacle in the context of a sequence of aiming movements. Consistent with previous research, healthy participants continued making unnecessarily large hand movements after clearing the obstacle (defined as “hand path priming effect”), even after switching movements between hands. In contrast, Parkinson’s patients showed a reduced hand path priming effect, i.e., they performed biomechanically more efficient movements than controls, but only when switching movements between hands. This effect correlated with disease severity, such that patients with more severe motor symptoms had a smaller hand path priming effect. We propose that the basal ganglia mediate recycling of movement parameters across subsequent actions.

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<![CDATA[The effect of age on cerebral blood flow responses during repeated and sustained stand to sit transitions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N46a0a1ad-3e5c-4518-a1d1-64ffcaeedb87 Aging and age‐related cerebrovascular diseases are associated with impaired cerebrovascular function. The novel finding of this study is that older adults showed higher pressure–flow responses during repeated stand–sit transitions compared to younger adults, and that a high pressure–flow response was associated with low cerebrovascular reactivity to CO2. These results suggest that impaired vascular function and increased arterial stiffness may contribute to the pressure–flow responses observed in the older adults.

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<![CDATA[The Epileptor Model: A Systematic Mathematical Analysis Linked to the Dynamics of Seizures, Refractory Status Epilepticus, and Depolarization Block]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N538242ca-4a1f-4816-abe7-9afbd7e687e4

Abstract

One characteristic of epilepsy is the variety of mechanisms leading to the epileptic state, which are still largely unknown. Refractory status epilepticus (RSE) and depolarization block (DB) are other pathological brain activities linked to epilepsy, whose patterns are different and whose mechanisms remain poorly understood. In epileptogenic network modeling, the Epileptor is a generic phenomenological model that has been recently developed to describe the dynamics of seizures. Here, we performed a detailed qualitative analysis of the Epileptor model based on dynamical systems theory and bifurcation analysis, and investigate the dynamic evolution of “normal” activity toward seizures and to the pathological RSE and DB states. The mechanisms of the transition between states are called bifurcations. Our detailed analysis demonstrates that the generic model undergoes different bifurcation types at seizure offset, when varying some selected parameters. We show that the pathological and normal activities can coexist within the same model under some conditions, and demonstrate that there are many pathways leading to and away from these activities. We here archive systematically all behaviors and dynamic regimes of the Epileptor model to serve as a resource in the development of patient-specific brain network models, and more generally in epilepsy research.

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<![CDATA[Reference values of physiological 18F-FET uptake: Implications for brain tumor discrimination]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N80bdbd58-ef10-47b0-8bc3-8bde8c3b2b52

Purpose

The aim of this study was to derive reference values of 18F-fluoro-ethyl-L-tyrosine positron emission tomography (18F-FET-PET) uptake in normal brain and head structures to allow for differentiation from tumor tissue.

Materials and methods

We examined the datasets of 70 patients (median age 53 years, range 15–79), whose dynamic 18F-FET-PET was acquired between January 2016 and October 2017. Maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax), target-to-background standardized uptake value ratio (TBR), and time activity curve (TAC) of the 18F-FET-PET were assessed in tumor tissue and in eight normal anatomic structures and compared using the t-test and Mann-Whitney U-test. Correlation analyses were performed using Pearson or Spearman coefficients, and comparisons between several variables with Pearson’s chi-squared tests and Kruskal-Wallis tests as well as the Benjamini-Hochberg correction.

Results

All analyzed structures showed an 18F-FET uptake higher than background (threshold: TBR > 1.5). The venous sinuses and cranial muscles exhibited a TBR of 2.03±0.46 (confidence interval (CI) 1.92–2.14), higher than the uptake of caudate nucleus, pineal gland, putamen, and thalamus (TBR 1.42±0.17, CI 1.38–1.47). SUVmax, TBR, and TAC showed no difference in the analyzed structures between subjects with high-grade gliomas and subjects with low-grade gliomas, except the SUVmax of the pineal gland (t-tests of the pineal gland: SUVmax: p = 0.022; TBR: p = 0.411). No significant differences were found for gender and age.

Conclusion

Normal brain tissue demonstrates increased 18F-FET uptake compared to background tissue. Two distinct clusters have been identified, comprising venous structures and gray matter with a reference uptake of up to SUVmax of 2.99 and 2.33, respectively.

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<![CDATA[Disruption of genes associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2 lead to common behavioural, cellular and molecular defects in Caenorhabditis elegans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N5d50b5cf-e057-490e-9c44-60569e9f28d4

Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is an inherited peripheral motor and sensory neuropathy. The disease is divided into demyelinating (CMT1) and axonal (CMT2) neuropathies, and although we have gained molecular information into the details of CMT1 pathology, much less is known about CMT2. Due to its clinical and genetic heterogeneity, coupled with a lack of animal models, common underlying mechanisms remain elusive. In order to gain an understanding of the normal function of genes associated with CMT2, and to draw direct comparisons between them, we have studied the behavioural, cellular and molecular consequences of mutating nine different genes in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (lin-41/TRIM2, dyn-1/DNM2, unc-116/KIF5A, fzo-1/MFN2, osm-9/TRPV4, cua-1/ATP7A, hsp-25/HSPB1, hint-1/HINT1, nep-2/MME). We show that C. elegans defective for these genes display debilitated movement in crawling and swimming assays. Severe morphological defects in cholinergic motors neurons are also evident in two of the mutants (dyn-1 and unc-116). Furthermore, we establish methods for quantifying muscle morphology and use these to demonstrate that loss of muscle structure occurs in the majority of mutants studied. Finally, using electrophysiological recordings of neuromuscular junction (NMJ) activity, we uncover reductions in spontaneous postsynaptic current frequency in lin-41, dyn-1, unc-116 and fzo-1 mutants. By comparing the consequences of mutating numerous CMT2-related genes, this study reveals common deficits in muscle structure and function, as well as NMJ signalling when these genes are disrupted.

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<![CDATA[Host immune responses during Taenia solium Neurocysticercosis infection and treatment]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nc0d0d75e-fba6-45d6-a2e4-1505f9de6f1c

Taenia solium cysticercosis and taeniasis (TSCT), caused by the tapeworm T. solium, is a foodborne and zoonotic disease classified since 2010 by WHO as a neglected tropical isease. It causes considerable impact on health and economy and is one of the leading causes of acquired epilepsy in most endemic countries of Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia. There is some evidence that the prevalence of TSCT in high-income countries has recently increased, mainly due to immigration from endemic areas. In regions endemic for TSCT, human cysticercosis can manifest clinically as neurocysticercosis (NCC), resulting in epileptic seizures and severe progressive headaches, amongst other neurological signs and/or symptoms. The development of these symptoms results from a complex interplay between anatomical cyst localization, environmental factors, parasite’s infective potential, host genetics, and, especially, host immune responses. Treatment of individuals with active NCC (presence of viable cerebral cysts) with anthelmintic drugs together with steroids is usually effective and, in the majority, reduces the number and/or size of cerebral lesions as well as the neurological symptoms. However, in some cases, treatment may profoundly enhance anthelmintic inflammatory responses with ensuing symptoms, which, otherwise, would have remained silent as long as the cysts are viable. This intriguing silencing process is not yet fully understood but may involve active modulation of host responses by cyst-derived immunomodulatory components released directly into the surrounding brain tissue or by the induction of regulatory networks including regulatory T cells (Treg) or regulatory B cells (Breg). These processes might be disturbed once the cysts undergo treatment-induced apoptosis and necrosis or in a coinfection setting such as HIV. Herein, we review the current literature regarding the immunology and pathogenesis of NCC with a highlight on the mobilization of immune cells during human NCC and their interaction with viable and degenerating cysticerci. Moreover, the immunological parameters associated with NCC in people living with HIV/AIDS and treatments are discussed. Eventually, we propose open questions to understand the role of the immune system and its impact in this intriguing host–parasite crosstalk.

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<![CDATA[MANF Ablation Causes Prolonged Activation of the UPR without Neurodegeneration in the Mouse Midbrain Dopamine System]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N6eb84382-0fcb-491e-9b59-8d50a4912c9a

Visual Abstract

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<![CDATA[Collapsin Response Mediator Protein 4 (CRMP4) Facilitates Wallerian Degeneration and Axon Regeneration following Sciatic Nerve Injury]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nd379ba60-5a3b-45b0-8bd6-4e69e83b3b46

Abstract

In contrast to neurons in the CNS, damaged neurons from the peripheral nervous system (PNS) regenerate, but this process can be slow and imperfect. Successful regeneration is orchestrated by cytoskeletal reorganization at the tip of the proximal axon segment and cytoskeletal disassembly of the distal segment. Collapsin response mediator protein 4 (CRMP4) is a cytosolic phospho-protein that regulates the actin and microtubule cytoskeleton. During development, CRMP4 promotes growth cone formation and dendrite development. Paradoxically, in the adult CNS, CRMP4 impedes axon regeneration. Here, we investigated the involvement of CRMP4 in peripheral nerve injury in male and female Crmp4−/− mice following sciatic nerve injury. We find that sensory axon regeneration and Wallerian degeneration are impaired in Crmp4−/− mice following sciatic nerve injury. In vitro analysis of dissociated dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons from Crmp4−/− mice revealed that CRMP4 functions in the proximal axon segment to promote the regrowth of severed DRG neurons and in the distal axon segment where it facilitates Wallerian degeneration through calpain-dependent formation of harmful CRMP4 fragments. These findings reveal an interesting dual role for CRMP4 in proximal and distal axon segments of injured sensory neurons that coordinately facilitate PNS axon regeneration.

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<![CDATA[Characterization of Auditory and Binaural Spatial Hearing in a Fragile X Syndrome Mouse Model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N00ff5182-0467-4f00-8d65-e26c0538899a

Abstract

The auditory brainstem compares sound-evoked excitation and inhibition from both ears to compute sound source location and determine spatial acuity. Although alterations to the anatomy and physiology of the auditory brainstem have been demonstrated in fragile X syndrome (FXS), it is not known whether these changes cause spatial acuity deficits in FXS. To test the hypothesis that FXS-related alterations to brainstem circuits impair spatial hearing abilities, a reflexive prepulse inhibition (PPI) task, with variations in sound (gap, location, masking) as the prepulse stimulus, was used on Fmr1 knock-out mice and B6 controls. Specifically, Fmr1 mice show decreased PPI compared with wild-type mice during gap detection, changes in sound source location, and spatial release from masking with no alteration to their overall startle thresholds compared with wild-type mice. Last, Fmr1 mice have increased latency to respond in these tasks, suggesting additional impairments in the pathway responsible for reacting to a startling sound. This study further supports data in humans with FXS that show similar deficits in PPI.

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<![CDATA[Distinct Populations of Neurons Activated by Heroin and Cocaine in the Striatum as Assessed by catFISH]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N1938ebd0-ac8f-4dfe-b6a7-72c571d799a5

Despite the still prevailing notion of a shared substrate of action for all addictive drugs, there is evidence suggesting that opioid and psychostimulant drugs differ substantially in terms of their neurobiological and behavioral effects. These differences may reflect separate neural circuits engaged by the two drugs.

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<![CDATA[Activity-dependent switches between dynamic regimes of extracellular matrix expression]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ndfacbadd-d1b4-4759-ab64-7c15dc34928b

Experimental studies highlight the important role of the extracellular matrix (ECM) in the regulation of neuronal excitability and synaptic connectivity in the nervous system. In its turn, the neural ECM is formed in an activity-dependent manner. Its maturation closes the so-called critical period of neural development, stabilizing the efficient configurations of neural networks in the brain. ECM is locally remodeled by proteases secreted and activated in an activity-dependent manner into the extracellular space and this process is important for physiological synaptic plasticity. We ask if ECM remodeling may be exaggerated under pathological conditions and enable activity-dependent switches between different regimes of ECM expression. We consider an analytical model based on known mechanisms of interaction between neuronal activity and expression of ECM, ECM receptors and ECM degrading proteases. We demonstrate that either inhibitory or excitatory influence of ECM on neuronal activity may lead to the bistability of ECM expression, so two stable stationary states are observed. Noteworthy, only in the case when ECM has predominant inhibitory influence on neurons, the bistability is dependent on the activity of proteases. Excitatory ECM-neuron feedback influences may also result in spontaneous oscillations of ECM expression, which may coexist with a stable stationary state. Thus, ECM-neuronal interactions support switches between distinct dynamic regimes of ECM expression, possibly representing transitions into disease states associated with remodeling of brain ECM.

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<![CDATA[Long-Term Exposure to PFE-360 in the AAV-α-Synuclein Rat Model: Findings and Implications]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N71f0d191-80b3-43b9-af4b-a3215e8e3675

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder associated with impaired motor function and several non-motor symptoms, with no available disease modifying treatment. Intracellular accumulation of pathological α-synuclein inclusions is a hallmark of idiopathic PD, whereas, dominant mutations in leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are associated with familial PD that is clinically indistinguishable from idiopathic PD.

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<![CDATA[Treatment of cognitive deficits in brain tumour patients: current status and future directions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N7cd8b32a-6177-4e71-ae8e-f697220f731a

Purpose of review

Increased life expectancy in brain tumour patients had led to the need for strategies that preserve and improve cognitive functioning, as many patients suffer from cognitive deficits. The tumour itself, as well as antitumor treatment including surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, supportive treatment and individual patient factors are associated with cognitive problems. Here, we review the recent literature on approaches that preserve and improve cognitive functioning, including pharmacological agents and rehabilitation programs.

Recent findings

Minimizing cognitive dysfunction and improving cognitive functioning in brain tumour patients may be achieved both by preserving cognitive functioning during antitumor treatment, including techniques such as awake brain surgery, less invasive radiation therapies such as stereotactic radiotherapy and proton therapy, as well as with interventions including cognitive rehabilitation programmes. Novel rehabilitation programs including computer-based cognitive rehabilitation therapy (CRT) programmes that can be adjusted to the specific patient needs and can be administered at home are promising. Furthermore, personalized/precision medicine approaches to identify patients who are at risk for cognitive decline may facilitate effective treatment strategies in the future.

Summary

Cognitive functioning has gained greater awareness in the neuro-oncological community, and methods to preserve and improve cognitive functioning have been explored. Rehabilitation programmes for brain tumour patients should be further developed and referred to in clinical practice.

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<![CDATA[Improving the delivery of primary care for older people]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N6cf9a7f5-d8ac-46a7-b1d4-c722b8f1fbd0 ]]> <![CDATA[Network Properties Revealed during Multi-Scale Calcium Imaging of Seizure Activity in Zebrafish]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c9e5a33d5eed0c4842443a3

Abstract

Seizures are characterized by hypersynchronization of neuronal networks. Understanding these networks could provide a critical window for therapeutic control of recurrent seizure activity, i.e., epilepsy. However, imaging seizure networks has largely been limited to microcircuits in vitro or small “windows” in vivo. Here, we combine fast confocal imaging of genetically encoded calcium indicator (GCaMP)-expressing larval zebrafish with local field potential (LFP) recordings to study epileptiform events at whole-brain and single-neuron levels in vivo. Using an acute seizure model (pentylenetetrazole, PTZ), we reliably observed recurrent electrographic ictal-like events associated with generalized activation of all major brain regions and uncovered a well-preserved anterior-to-posterior seizure propagation pattern. We also examined brain-wide network synchronization and spatiotemporal patterns of neuronal activity in the optic tectum microcircuit. Brain-wide and single-neuronal level analysis of PTZ-exposed and 4-aminopyridine (4-AP)-exposed zebrafish revealed distinct network dynamics associated with seizure and non-seizure hyperexcitable states, respectively. Neuronal ensembles, comprised of coactive neurons, were also uncovered during interictal-like periods. Taken together, these results demonstrate that macro- and micro-network calcium motifs in zebrafish may provide a greater understanding of epilepsy.

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<![CDATA[Tracking the brain in myotonic dystrophies: A 5-year longitudinal follow-up study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8accf4d5eed0c4849903d9

Objectives

The aim of this study was to examine the natural history of brain involvement in adult-onset myotonic dystrophies type 1 and 2 (DM1, DM2).

Methods

We conducted a longitudinal observational study to examine functional and structural cerebral changes in myotonic dystrophies. We enrolled 16 adult-onset DM1 patients, 16 DM2 patients, and 17 controls. At baseline and after 5.5 ± 0.4 years participants underwent neurological, neuropsychological, and 3T-brain MRI examinations using identical study protocols that included voxel-based morphometry and diffusion tensor imaging. Data were analyzed by (i) group comparisons between patients and controls at baseline and follow-up, and (ii) group comparisons using difference maps (baseline–follow-up in each participant) to focus on disease-related effects over time.

Results

We found minor neuropsychological deficits with mild progression in DM1 more than DM2. Daytime sleepiness was restricted to DM1, whereas fatigue was present in both disease entities and stable over time. Comparing results of cross-sectional neuroimaging analyses at baseline and follow-up revealed an unchanged pattern of pronounced white matter alterations in DM1. There was mild additional gray matter reduction in DM1 at follow-up. In DM2, white matter reduction was of lesser extent, but there were some additional alterations at follow-up. Gray matter seemed unaffected in DM2. Intriguingly, longitudinal analyses using difference maps and comparing them between patients and controls did not reveal any significant differences of cerebral changes over time between patients and controls.

Conclusion

The lack of significant disease-related progression of gray and white matter involvement over a period of five years in our cohort of DM1 and DM2 patients suggests either a rather slowly progressive process or even a stable course of cerebral changes in middle-aged adult-onset patients. Being the first longitudinal neuroimaging trial in DM1 and DM2, this study provides useful additional information regarding the natural history of brain involvement.

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