Decreased occipital lobe metabolism by FDG-PET/CT

John C. Probasco, Lilja Solnes, Abhinav Nalluri, Jesse Cohen, Krystyna M. Jones, Elcin Zan, Mehrbod S. Javadi, Arun Venkatesan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objective: To compare brain metabolism patterns on fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-PET/CT in anti-NMDA receptor and other definite autoimmune encephalitis (AE) and to assess how these patterns differ between anti-NMDA receptor neurologic disability groups. Methods: Retrospective review of clinical data and initial dedicated brain FDG-PET/CT studies for neurology inpatients with definite AE, per published consensus criteria, treated at a single academic medical center over a 10-year period. Z-score maps of FDG-PET/CT were made using 3-dimensional stereotactic surface projections in comparison to age group-matched controls. Brain region mean Z scores with magnitudes ≥2.00 were interpreted as significant. Comparisons were made between anti-NMDA receptor and other definite AE patients as well as among patients with anti-NMDA receptor based on modified Rankin Scale (MRS) scores at the time of FDG-PET/CT. Results: The medial occipital lobes were markedly hypometabolic in 6 of 8 patients with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis and as a group (Z = -4.02, interquartile range [IQR] 2.14) relative to those with definite AE (Z = -2.32, 1.46; p = 0.004). Among patients with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, the lateral and medial occipital lobes were markedly hypometabolic for patients with MRS 4-5 (lateral occipital lobe Z = -3.69, IQR 1; medial occipital lobe Z = -4.08, 1) compared with those with MRS 0-3 (lateral occipital lobe Z = -0.83, 2; p < 0.0005; medial occipital lobe Z = -1.07, 2; p = 0.001). Conclusions: Marked medial occipital lobe hypometabolism by dedicated brain FDG-PET/CT may serve as an early biomarker for discriminating anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis from other AE. Resolution of lateral and medial occipital hypometabolism may correlate with improved neurologic status in anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere413
JournalNeurology: Neuroimmunology and NeuroInflammation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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