Altered Neurometabolic Profile in Early Parkinson's Disease: A Study With Short Echo-Time Whole Brain MR Spectroscopic Imaging.
Objective: To estimate alterations in neurometabolic profile of patients with early stage Parkinson's disease (PD) by using a short echo-time whole brain magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (wbMRSI) as possible biomarker for early diagnosis and monitoring of PD. Methods: 20 PD patients in early stage (H&Y ≤ 2) without evidence of severe other diseases and 20 age and sex matched healthy controls underwent wbMRSI. In each subject brain regional concentrations of metabolites N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA), choline (Cho), total creatine (tCr), glutamine (Gln), glutamate (Glu), and myo-inositol (mIns) were obtained in atlas-defined lobar structures including subcortical basal ganglia structures (the left and right frontal lobes, temporal lobes, parietal lobes, occipital lobes, and the cerebellum) and compared between patients and matched healthy controls. Clinical characteristics of the PD patients were correlated with spectroscopic findings. Results: In comparison to controls the PD patients revealed altered lobar metabolite levels in all brain lobes contralateral to dominantly affected body side, i.e., decreases of temporal NAA, Cho, and tCr, parietal NAA and tCr, and frontal as well as occipital NAA. The frontal NAA correlated negatively with the MDS-UPDRS II (R = 22120.585, p = 0.008), MDS-UPDRS IV (R = -0.458, p = 0.048) and total MDS-UPDRS scores (R = -0.679, p = 0.001). Conclusion: In early PD stages metabolic alterations are evident in all contralateral brain lobes demonstrating that the neurodegenerative process affects not only local areas by dopaminergic denervation, but also the functional network within different brain regions. The wbMRSI-detectable brain metabolic alterations reveal the potential to serve as biomarkers for early PD.