Article Text

Download PDFPDF
E16 Diffusion Tensor Imaging And Neuropsychiatric Disturbance In Huntington ’s Disease
  1. S Gregory1,
  2. RI Scahill2,
  3. C Stopford3,4,
  4. M Orth5,
  5. A Durr6,
  6. B Leavitt7,
  7. RAC Roos8,
  8. DR Langbehn9,10,
  9. H Johnson9,
  10. G Rees11,
  11. SJ Tabrizi2,
  12. D Craufurd3,4
  13. and the TRACK-HD Investigators
  1. 1Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London, UK
  2. 2UCL Institute of Neurology, University College London, London, UK
  3. 3Institute of Human Development, Faculty of Medicine and Human Sciences, University of Manchester and Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Manchester, UK
  4. 4Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK
  5. 5Department of Neurology,University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany
  6. 6Department of Genetics and Cytogenetics, and INSERM UMR S679, APHP, ICM Institute, Hôpital de la Salpêtrière, Paris, France
  7. 7Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, Department of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  8. 8Department of Neurology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, Netherlands
  9. 9Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
  10. 10Department of Biostatistics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
  11. 11Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, UK


Background Huntington’s disease (HD) is commonly associated with psychiatric disturbance. Often evident in premanifest gene-carriers, little is understood about the neural bases underlying these HD symptoms. While structural imaging has so far failed to provide any major insight, Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) can be used to investigate connectivity between brain regions and any putative microstructural changes that may occur in HD.

Aims To examine structural connectivity associated with depression, apathy and irritability in HD gene-carriers.

Methods DTI data was collected from 39 premanifest and 45 early-HD participants, as part of the TrackHD study and was analysed using whole-brain Tract-Based Spatial Statistics to extract fractional anisotropy (FA) values – a surrogate marker for tract integrity and efficacy of communication between brain regions. Regression analyses were performed on all gene-carriers using HADS depression and PBA apathy and irritability scores.

Results High disease load (measured by CPO) was associated with highly significant, whole-brain corrected correlations between depression scores and reduced FA in the bilateral splenium of the corpus callosum. There were significant widespread negative associations between irritability scores and FA. Interestingly, low disease load participants demonstrated significant correlations between irritability scores and FA reduction. There were no significant associations between apathy and FA.

Conclusions Both depression and irritability are associated with reductions in white matter integrity in HD. The opposite relationships between FA and measures of depression and irritability as a function of disease progression suggest that diverse mechanisms associated with both the onset and progression of psychiatric disturbance in HD.

  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Apathy

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.