Global N-acetylaspartate concentration in benign and non-benign multiple sclerosis patients of long disease duration

N-acetylasparate (NAA) is a neuronal marker. Based on this, the researchers in the study examined if people with benign MS (BMS) had similar losses of global NAA relative to more clinically disabled people with MS of similar disease duration. They used a whole-head non-localising proton MR spectroscopy to measure whole brain NAA concentration (WBNAA) in 24 people with benign MS and 26 with non-benign MS of similar disease duration. They found that controls had an 18% higher WBNAA than the BMS and 25% higher than the non-BMS. However, there was no difference between the patients’ groups. In relation to T1-hypointense lesion load and T2-hyperintense lesion load, there was no significant difference between BMS and the non-benign MS. In conclusion, WBNAA differentiates normal controls from MS but does not distinguish benign MS from more disabled people with MS with similar disease duration. People with RRMS with disease duration of 15+ years suffered WBNAA loss similar to the average RRMS population at four fold shorter disease duration. This indicates levelling off of the rate of neurodegeneration.

Authors: Achtnichts L, Gonen O
Source: Eur J Radiol. 2013 Sep 4. pii: S0720-048X(13)00450-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2013.08.037. [Epub ahead of print]

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