Serial MRI alterations of pediatric patients with beta-propeller protein associated neurodegeneration (BPAN)

Yukio Kimura, Noriko Sato, Akihiko Ishiyama, Yoko Shigemoto, Fumio Suzuki, Hiroyuki Fujii, Norihide Maikusa, Hiroshi Matsuda, Kenya Nishioka, Nobutaka Hattori, Masayuki Sasaki
Journal of Neuroradiology. Journal de Neuroradiologie 2020 April 23

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Beta-propeller protein-associated neurodegeneration (BPAN) is one subtype of neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation. It is difficult to diagnose BPAN due to the non-specificity of their clinical findings and neuroimaging in early childhood. We experienced four pediatric patients with serial brain MRI and evaluated the alteration of the findings through their course.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed the clinical findings and 21 MRI findings of the four patients with genetically confirmed pediatric BPAN. We also performed a quantitative MR assessment using the quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) values of the globus pallidus (GP), substantia nigra (SN), and deep cerebellar nuclei (DCN) compared to 10 age-matched disease controls.

RESULTS: Only one patient was suspected of BPAN based on imaging findings before the genetic diagnosis was made. The other three patients could not be suspected until their Whole-exome sequencings (WES) done. In all four cases, no abnormal signals were noted in the GP and SN at the initial brain MRI, but hypointensities were observed after the ages of 4-7 years on T2-weighted images and after the ages of 2-7 years on susceptibility-weighted images. In three patients, T2 hyperintensity in the bilateral DCN was persistently observed throughout the observational period. Three patients showed transient T2 hyperintensity and swelling in the GP, SN and/or DCN during the episodes of pyrexia and seizures. The other findings included cerebral and cerebellar atrophy, thinning of the corpus callosum, and delayed myelination. The QSM values of the GP and SN were significantly higher in the patients compared to the controls (P=0.005, respectively), but that of the DCN did not differ significantly (P=0.16).

CONCLUSION: Brain MRI is a useful method to establish the early diagnosis of BPAN.

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