Objective: We sought to examine brain white matter abnormalities based on MRI in adults with Lesch-Nyhan disease (LND) or an attenuated variant (LNV) of this rare, X-linked neurodevelopmental disorder of purine metabolism. Methods: In this observational study, we compared 21 adults with LND, 17 with LNV, and 33 age-, sex-, and race-matched healthy controls using voxel-based morphometry and analysis of covariance to identify white matter volume abnormalities in both patient groups. Results: Patients with classic LND showed larger reductions of white (26%) than gray (17%) matter volume relative to healthy controls. Those with LNV showed comparable reductions of white (14%) and gray (15%) matter volume. Both patient groups demonstrated reduced volume in medial inferior white matter regions. Compared with LNV, the LND group showed larger reductions in inferior frontal white matter adjoining limbic and temporal regions and the motor cortex. These regions likely include such long association fibers as the superior longitudinal and uncinate fasciculi. Conclusions: Despite earlier reports that LND primarily involves the basal ganglia, this study reveals substantial white matter volume abnormalities. Moreover, white matter deficits are more severe than gray matter deficits in classic LND, and also characterize persons with LNV. The brain images acquired for these analyses cannot precisely localize white matter abnormalities or determine whether they involve changes in tract orientation or anisotropy. However, clusters of reduced white matter volume identified here affect regions that are consistent with the neurobehavioral phenotype.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology