Brain glucose utilization in systemic lupus erythematosus with neuropsychiatric symptoms: A controlled positron emission tomography study
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In contrast to morphological imaging [such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography], functional imaging may be of advantage in the detection of brain abnormalities in cases of neuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Therefore, we studied 13 patients (aged 40±14 years, 11 female, 2 male) with neuropsychiatric SLE who met four of the American Rheumatism Association criteria for the classification of SLE. Ten clinically and neurologically healthy volunteers served as controls (aged 40±12 years, 5 female, 5 male). Both groups were investigated using fluorine-18-labelled fluorodeoxyglucose brain positron emission tomography (PET) and cranial MRI. The normal controls and 11 of the 13 patients showed normal MRI scans. However, PET scan was abnormal in all 13 SLE patients. Significant group-to-group differences in the glucose metabolic index (GMI=region of interest uptake/global uptake at the level of the basal ganglia and thalamus) were found in the parieto-occipital region on both sides: the GMI of the parieto-occipital region on the right side was 0.922±0.045 in patients and 1.066±0.081 in controls (P<0.0001, Mann WhitneyU test), while on the left side it was 0.892±0.060 in patients and 1.034±0.051 in controls (P=0.0002). Parietooccipital hypometabolism is a conspicuous finding in mainly MRI-negative neuropsychiatric SLE. As the parieto-occipital region is located at the boundary of blood supply of all three major arteries, it could be the most vulnerable zone of the cerebrum and may be affected at an early stage of the cerebrovascular disease.
Key wordsNeuropsychiatrie systemic lupus erythematosus Positron emission tomography Fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose Parieto-occipital brain hypometabolism
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