Positron Emission Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain in Fabry Disease: A Nationwide, Long-Time, Prospective Follow-Up

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BACKGROUND: Fabry disease is a rare metabolic glycosphingolipid storage disease caused by deficiency of the lysosomal enzyme α-galactosidase A--leading to cellular accumulation of globotriasylceramide in different organs, vessels, tissues, and nerves. The disease is associated with an increased risk of cerebrovascular disease at a young age in addition to heart and kidney failure.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to assess brain function and structure in the Danish cohort of patients with Fabry disease in a prospective way using 18-fluoro-deoxyglucose (F-18 FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

PATIENTS: Forty patients with Fabry disease (14 males, 26 females, age at inclusion: 10-66 years, median: 39 years) underwent a brain F-18-FDG-PET-scan at inclusion, and 31 patients were followed with FDG-PET biannually for up to seven years. All patients (except one) had a brain MRI-scan at inclusion, and 34 patients were followed with MRI biannually for up to nine years.

IMAGE ANALYSIS: The FDG-PET-images were inspected visually and analysed using a quantitative 3-dimensional stereotactic surface projection analysis (Neurostat). MRI images were also inspected visually and severity of white matter lesions (WMLs) was graded using a visual rating scale.

RESULTS: In 28 patients brain-FDG-PET was normal; in 23 of these 28 patients brain MRI was normal--of the remaining five patients in this group, four patients had WMLs and one patient never had an MRI-scan. In 10 patients hypometabolic areas were observed on brain-FDG-PET; all of these patients had cerebral infarcts/hemorrhages visualized on MRI corresponding to the main hypometabolic areas. In two patients brain-FDG-PET was ambiguous, while MRI was normal in one and abnormal in the other.

CONCLUSION: Our data indicated that, in patients with Fabry disease, MRI is the preferable clinical modality--if applicable--when monitoring cerebral status, as no additional major brain-pathology was detected with FDG-PET.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0143940
JournalP L o S One
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ID: 162222177