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January 1995

Phospholipid Abnormalities in Early Alzheimer's Disease: In Vivo Phosphorus 31 Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

Author Affiliations

From the Frédéric-Joliot Hospital, Atomic Energy Commission, Orsay (Drs Cuénod, Jehenson, Leroy-Willig, and Syrota and Mr Kaplan), Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), Unit 324, Paris (Drs Cuénod, Michot, Forette, and Boiler and Mr Kaplan), and Broca Hospital, Paris (Drs Forette and Boller), France.

Arch Neurol. 1995;52(1):89-94. doi:10.1001/archneur.1995.00540250097018

Objective:  To determine whether changes in phosphomonoester and phosphodiester levels could be detected in vivo with phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy in the early stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Design:  Survey-type of case-control study using neuropsychological testing as criterion standard with blinded data analysis.

Setting:  Patients were from a neurology clinic in Paris, France. The controls were from the community. Magnetic resonance measurements were performed in the prefrontal region of the brain with a clinical 1.5-T scanner. Blinded data analysis.

Participants:  Twenty-four patients with mild AD and 15 age-matched healthy volunteers. Subjects were separated into two groups, both composed of patients with AD and healthy volunteers. Two successive acquisition protocols were used in the two groups.

Results:  A significant increase in the phosphomonoester—total phosphorus ratio was found in patients with AD compared with controls. In this series, use of a ratio above 11% as a threshold to test our sample yielded an 83.3% sensitivity and a 73.3% specificity test for AD. Other metabolite ratios (inorganic phosphate, phosphodiesters, phosphocreatine, and nucleotide phosphates to total phosphorus) were not significantly different between patients and controls. No metabolite ratio correlated with the neuropsychological status as assessed by the Mini-Mental State Examination.

Conclusion:  Changes in phospholipid metabolism can be detected in vivo in the early stage of AD. Discrepancies in the literature may be due to differences in technical setting or in subject population types.

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