FDG-PET study of patients with Leigh syndrome

Kauzhiro Haginoya, Tomohiro Kaneta, Noriko Togashi, Naomi Hino-Fukuyo, Tomoko Kobayashi, Mitsugu Uematsu, Taro Kitamura, Takehiko Inui, Yukimune Okubo, Yusuke Takezawa, Mai Anzai, Wakaba Endo, Noriko Miyake, Hirotomo Saitsu, Naomichi Matsumoto, Shigeo Kure

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11 Citations (Scopus)


We conducted a [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) study in five patients (median age 11 (range 4-13) years) with Leigh syndrome to evaluate its usefulness for understanding the functional brain dysfunction in this disease and in future drug trials. Four patients were found to have reported mitochondrial DNA gene mutations. The brain T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed high-intensity areas in the putamen bilaterally in five patients, caudate bilaterally in four, thalamus bilaterally in two, and brainstem in one. Cerebellar atrophy was observed in older two patients. For disease control, seven age-matched epilepsy patients who had normal MRI and FDG-PET studies were selected. For semiquantitative analysis of the lesions with decreased 18F-FDG uptake, the mean standard uptake value (SUV) was calculated in regions of interest (ROIs) placed in each brain structure. We compared the SUV of nine segments (the frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes, thalami, basal ganglia, mid-brain, pons, and cerebellum) between patients with Leigh syndrome and controls. The glucose uptake was decreased significantly in the cerebellum and basal ganglia, which could explain the ataxia and dystonia in patients with Leigh syndrome. Although this study had some limitations, FDG-PET might be useful for evaluating the brain dysfunction and treatment efficacy of new drugs in patients with Leigh syndrome. Further study with more patients using advanced methods to quantify glucose uptake is needed before drawing a conclusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-313
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar 15


  • Leigh syndrome
  • mitochondrial disease
  • neuroimaging
  • PET
  • positron emission tomography


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