Proton MR spectroscopic imaging predicts lesion progression on MRI in X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy

F. S. Eichler, P. B. Barker, C. Cox, D. Edwin, A. M. Ulug, H. W. Moser, G. V. Raymond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Background: The phenotypic expression of X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD) ranges from the rapidly progressive childhood cerebral form to the milder adrenomyeloneuropathy in adults. It is not possible to predict phenotype by mutation analysis or biochemical assays. Multislice proton MRS imaging (MRSI) has previously detected more extensive brain abnormalities in X-ALD than conventional MRI, which has been suggested to predict impending demyelination. However, the significance of these changes is unclear. Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the long-term sensitivity and specificity of MRSI for disease progression in X-ALD. Methods: Twenty-five patients with X-ALD were investigated (average age, 15 years; range, 2-43 years) with MRI and proton MRSI at baseline and follow-up MRI over a mean period of 3.5 years. Eight patients had normal MRI findings at baseline and on follow-up (noncerebral group), 11 had abnormal MRI at baseline and no change on follow-up (cerebral nonprogressive group), and 6 had progressive MRI abnormalities (cerebral progressive group). On MRSI, voxels were analyzed in the normal MRI-appearing perilesional white matter, or in the corresponding area in the noncerebral group. Results: The concentration ratio of N-acetylaspartate (NAA) to choline was the most sensitive indicator of disease progression. The average NAA/choline ratio was 5.99 for the noncerebral group, 5.75 for the cerebral nonprogressive group, and 3.74 for the cerebral progressive group (p = 0.002). At a cut-off point of 5.0, the NAA/choline ratio predicted disease progression in all patients with six cerebral progressive disease (sensitivity 100%). The specificity was 83%, the positive predictive value was 66%, and the negative predictive value was 100%. Conclusions: Multislice proton MRS imaging is able to identify impending or beginning degeneration in white matter that still appears normal on conventional MRI. Multislice proton MRSI may be a suitable technique for the prediction of lesion progression on MRI in X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)901-907
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 26 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology


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