Metabolic PET imaging provides clues to developing Huntington’s disease

September 5, 2013

A functional neural network is under investigation as a major player in the progression of Huntington’s disease. Metabolic imaging of this region could serve as a tool for future treatments, according to a study published online Aug. 29 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Researchers including Chris C. Tang, MD, from the Center for Neurosciences at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, N.Y., and colleagues evaluated a computational method of metabolic brain FDG PET for 12 healthy carriers of a mutated gene linked to the neurodegenerative disorder. These patients were imaged over a seven year period and scientists were able to assess disease progression from its asymptomatic state into the clear presence of disease and found linear increases in cerebral metabolic activity were matched by a breakdown in caudate and putamen tissue volume and neuro-receptor binding as evidenced by separate C-11 raclopride PET imaging and MRI. These findings were matched independently by another study of mutated gene carrying patients in the Netherlands who were imaged over a two-year period.