Metabolic Evidence for Cerebral Neurodegeneration in Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 1
Autosomal-dominant spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) is an adult-onset progressive disorder with well-characterized neurodegeneration in the cerebellum and brainstem. The objective of this study is to evaluate neurochemical changes associated with neurodegeneration in cerebral tissue in SCA1 patients compared to age- and gender-matched healthy controls. Nine patients with genetically proven SCA1 and nine gender- and age-matched healthy controls were prospectively recruited from the ataxia clinic and received clinical examination. A 1.5 T single-voxel brain proton MR spectroscopy was performed for total N-acetyl aspartate (tNAA) in cerebellum, parietofrontal lobe white matter, sensory cortex, and visual cortex. In the patients, tNAA was severely decreased in the cerebellar voxel; however, in the voxels positioned in sensory cortex, parietofrontal lobe white matter and visual cortex tNAA was reduced in comparison to controls. In addition to the profoundly affected cerebellum, we also found evidence for cerebral neurodegeneration in parietal lobe white matter, sensory cortex, and visual cortex in SCA1 patients illustrating a multisystem neurodegenerative character of the disease.