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Journal Article

A critical review of white matter changes in Huntington’s Disease


Lipp,  Ilona
Department Neurophysics (Weiskopf), MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Casella, C., Lipp, I., Rosser, A., Jones, D. K., & Metzler-Baddeley, C. (2020). A critical review of white matter changes in Huntington’s Disease. Movement Disorders, 35(8), 1302-1311. doi:10.1002/mds.28109.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-92BF-E
Huntington’s disease is a genetic neurodegenerative disorder. White matter alterations have recently been identified as a relevant pathophysiological feature of Huntington’s disease, but their etiology and role in disease pathogenesis and progression remain unclear. Increasing evidence suggests that white matter changes in this disorder are attributed to alterations in myelin‐associated biological processes. This review first discusses evidence from neurochemical studies lending support to the demyelination hypothesis of Huntington’s disease, demonstrating aberrant myelination and changes in oligodendrocytes in the Huntington’s brain. Next, evidence from neuroimaging studies is reviewed, the limitations of the described methodologies are discussed, and suggested interpretations of findings from published studies are challenged. Although our understanding of Huntington’s associated pathological changes in the brain will increasingly rely on neuroimaging techniques, the shortcomings of these methodologies must not be forgotten. Advances in magnetic resonance imaging techniques and tissue modeling will enable a better in vivo, longitudinal characterization of the biological properties of white matter microstructure. This in turn will facilitate identification of disease‐related biomarkers and the specification of outcome measures in clinical trials. © 2020 The Authors. Movement Disorders published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.