UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Alterations in brain morphology by MRI in adults with neurofibromatosis 1 Wang, Su; Mautner, Victor-Felix; Buchert, Ralph; Flibotte, Stephane; Suppa, Per; Friedman, J. M. (Jan Marshall), 1947-; Heran, Manraj


Objective Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1) is a rare autosomal dominant disease that causes the dysregulated growth of Schwann cells. Most reported studies of brain morphology in NF1 patients have included only children, and clinical implications of the observed changes later in life remain unclear. In this study, we used MRI to characterize brain morphology in adults with NF1. Methods Planar (2D) MRI measurements of 29 intracranial structures were compared in 389 adults with NF1 and 112 age- and sex-matched unaffected control subjects. The 2D measurements were correlated with volumetric (3D) brain measurements in 99 of the adults with NF1 to help interpret the 2D findings. A subset (n = 70) of these NF1 patients also received psychometric testing for attention deficits and IQ and was assessed for clinical severity of NF1 features and neurological problems. Correlation analysis was performed between the MRI measurements and clinical and psychometric features of these patients. Results Four of nine corpus callosum measurements were significantly greater in adults with NF1 than in sex- and age-matched controls. All seven brainstem measurements were significantly greater in adults with NF1 than in controls. Increased corpus callosum and brainstem 2D morphology were correlated with increased total white matter volume among the NF1 patients. No robust correlations were observed between the 2D size of these structures and clinical or neuropsychometric assessments. Conclusion Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that dysregulation of brain myelin production is an important manifestation of NF1 in adults.

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