SA Journal of Radiology

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Multi-voxel proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy changes in neuropsychiatric lupus patients

Page I. Wang, Richard E. Harris, Thomas L. Chenevert, William J. McCune, Pia C. Sundgren


Purpose: In this prospective study, we used 2D chemical shift imaging (CSI), a multi-voxel proton spectroscopy technique, to evaluate the brain metabolites on conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in normal-appearing white and grey matter in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients with neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPSLE); without neuropsychiatric symptoms (non-NPSLE); and healthy controls (HCs). Our objective was to find metabolites that discriminated NPSLE patients from the non-NPSLE and HC cohorts.
Materials and methods: The study included 23 NPSLE patients, 20 non-NPSLE patients, and 21 HCs. A clinical assessment including the SLE disease activity index (SLEDAI) and systemic lupus international collaborating clinics (SLICC) scores was conducted. All patients underwent conventional MRI and 2D CSI technique to acquire the following metabolic ratios: NAA/Cr, Cho/Cr, and Cho/NAA in the anterior and posterior insula, anterior frontal and parietal white and grey matter, thalamus, basal ganglia, and occipital grey matter.
Results: In terms of metabolic differences, the NPSLE patients had significant differences compared with the non-NPSLE and HC groups in the: left posterior insula (increased Cho/NAA; p = 0.008), right internal capsule (increased Cho/Cr; p < 0.05), left thalamus (increased NAA/Cr; p = 0.011), anterior grey matter (increased NAA/Cr; p = 0.004), posterior grey matter (increased Cho/NAA; p = 0.016), anterior white matter (increased NAA/Cr; p = 0.012), and left posterior white matter (increased Cho/NAA; p = 0.022). The NPSLE patients showed significantly higher SLEDAI scores ( p < 0.001).
Conclusion: We found several significant distinct metabolic differences between NPSLE and non-NPSLE/HC patients in various brain locations.

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