RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
Radiological imaging in ataxia telangiectasia: a review.
The human genetic disorder ataxia telangiectasia (A-T) is characterised by neurodegeneration, immunodeficiency, radiosensitivity, cell cycle checkpoint defects, genomic instability and cancer predisposition. Progressive cerebellar ataxia represents the most debilitating aspect of this disorder. At present, there is no therapy available to cure or prevent the progressive symptoms of A-T. While it is possible to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with immunodeficiency and deficient lung function, neither the predisposition to cancer nor the progressive neurodegeneration can be prevented. Significant effort has focused on improving our understanding of various clinical, genetic and immunological aspects of A-T; however, little attention has been directed towards identifying altered brain structure and function using MRI. To date, most imaging studies have reported radiological anomalies in A-T. This review outlines the clinical and biological features of A-T along with known radiological imaging anomalies. In addition, we briefly discuss the advent of high-resolution MRI in conjunction with diffusion-weighted imaging, which enables improved investigation of the microstructural tissue environment, giving insight into the loss in integrity of motor networks due to abnormal neurodevelopmental or progressive neurodegenerative processes. Such imaging approaches have yet to be applied in the study of A-T and could provide important new information regarding the relationship between mutation of the ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) gene and the integrity of motor circuitry.
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