Huntington's disease progression. PET and clinical observations

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Thomasin C. Andrews, Hammersmith Hospital
  • ,
  • Robert A. Weeks, Hammersmith Hospital
  • ,
  • Nora Turjanski, Hammersmith Hospital
  • ,
  • Roger N. Gunn, Hammersmith Hospital
  • ,
  • Laura H.A. Watkins, Addenbrooke's Hospital
  • ,
  • Barbara Sahakian, Addenbrooke's Hospital
  • ,
  • John R. Hodges, MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge
  • ,
  • Anne E. Rosser, Addenbrooke's Hospital
  • ,
  • Nicholas W. Wood, Department of Neurodegenerative Disease, UCL Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London
  • ,
  • David J. Brooks

Using serial [11C]SCH 23390- and [11C]raclopride-PET, we have measured the rate of loss of striatal dopamine D1 and D2 receptor binding over a mean of 40 months in nine asymptomatic adult Huntington's disease mutation carriers, four patients with symptomatic disease, seven mutation-negative controls and three subjects at risk for the disease. Eight of the nine asymptomatic Huntington's disease mutation carriers had serial [11C]raclopride-PET and showed a mean annual loss of striatal D2 binding of 4.0%. Only five of these eight, however, showed active progression, and they had a mean annual loss of D2 binding of 6.5%. All nine asymptomatic mutation carriers had serial [11C]SCH 23390-PET and showed a mean annual loss of striatal D1 binding of 2.0%. Four of these subjects demonstrated active progression and they had a mean annual loss of 4.5%. Our four symptomatic Huntington's disease patients showed a mean annual loss of D2 binding of 3.0% and of D1 binding of 5.0%. Loss of striatal D1 and D2 binding was significantly greater in the known mutation carriers than in the combined at-risk and gene-negative groups (P < 0.05). At follow-up PET all subjects were clinically assessed using the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale. Scores for motor function and total functional capacity correlated with PET measures of striatal dopamine receptor binding both in the asymptomatic mutation carriers (D1, P < 0.01) and across the combined asymptomatic and clinically affected Huntington's disease mutation carrier group (D1 and D2, P < 0.001). We conclude that PET measures of striatal D1 and D2 dopamine binding can be used to identify asymptomatic Huntington's disease mutation carriers who are actively progressing and who would thus be suitable for putative neuroprotective therapies. Measures of disease progression rates in Huntington's disease patients and asymptomatic mutation carriers will be of critical importance in future trials of experimental restorative treatments.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBrain
Volume122
Issue12
Pages (from-to)2353-2363
Number of pages11
ISSN0006-8950
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Disease progression, Dopamine receptors, Huntington's disease, PET, UHDRS

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