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Gonen O , Catalaa I , Babb JS , Ge Y , Mannon LJ , Kolson DL , Grossman RI
Total brain N-acetylaspartate: a new measure of disease load in MS
Neurology. 2000 Jan 11;54(1) :15-9
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OBJECTIVE: To quantitate the extent of neuronal cell loss in MS via the whole brain's N-acetylaspartate (NAA) concentration (WBNAA). METHODS: Because NAA is assumed to be present only in neuronal cell bodies and their axons, we measured WBNAA as a marker for viable neurons in 12 patients (9 women and 3 men, 26 to 53 years of age) suffering from relapsing-remitting (RR) MS for at least 5 years and compared them with 13 age- and sex-matched normal controls. Total brain NAA was determined with proton MR spectroscopy, and WBNAA was obtained by dividing it by the total brain volume, calculated from high resolution MRI. RESULTS: The WBNAA of the RR MS patients was lower than their matched controls (p<0.005). This difference was greater among older than younger subjects. The linear prediction equations of WBNAA with age indicate a faster, x10, decline in the patients, approximately 0.8% per year of age (p = 0.022). CONCLUSION: The age-dependent decrease of whole brain N-acetylaspartate (WBNAA) in the patients suggests that progressive neuronal cell loss is a cardinal feature of this disease. WBNAA offers a quick, highly reproducible measure of disease progression and may be an important marker of treatment efficacy in MS as well as other neurodegenerative diseases.
20100074 0028-3878 Journal Article