[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MRI and 2D-CSI spectroscopy were performed in eight patients with systemic lupus erythematosus who presented with acute onset of neuropsychiatric lupus (NP-SLE), and in seven normal controls to evaluate for differences in metabolic peaks and metabolic ratios between the two groups. Also, the interval change of the metabolic peaks and their ratios during treatment in the NP-SLE patient group was evaluated. Metabolic peaks for N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA), choline (Cho), creatine (Cr), and lactate/lipids (LL) and their ratios (NAA/Cr, NAA/Cho, Cho/Cr, LL/Cr) were determined at initial presentation and 3 and 6 months later. In the eight lupus patients compared to the seven normal controls, NAA/Cho ratios were lower at presentation (1.05 vs 1.25; p = 0.004) and decreased even further at the three month follow-up (0.92 vs 1.05; p = 0.008). In contrast, both Cho/Cr (1.42 vs 1.26; p = 0.026) and LL/Cr ratios (0.26 vs 0.19; p = 0.002) were higher in the lupus patients at presentation compared to the controls and did not significantly change at three and six months follow-up. The NAA/Cr ratios were lower in the lupus patients compared to the controls at presentation but the difference was not statistically significant. However, the mean NAA/Cr significantly decreased from the initial examination to the three month follow-up (1.42 vs 1.32; p = 0.049) but did not significantly change from the three to the six month follow-up examinations. The NAA/Cr, Cho/Cr, and NAA/Cho ratios varied significantly (p < 0.05, p < 0.05, p < 0.05, respectively) between the 17 different locations measured in the brain in all eight patients and seven controls. Both the NAA/Cr ratios and the Cho/Cr ratios were also significantly lower in the gray matter than in the white matter (p < 0.0001) in both patients and controls, whereas the LL/Cr and NAA/Cho ratios were not significantly different. In conclusion, 2D-CSI MR spectroscopy may be useful in the early detection of metabolic CNS changes in NP-SLE patients with acute onset of new neurological symptoms as well as in the follow-up after treatment to assess presence and changes in metabolic brain injury. However, although there are detectable differences between normal individuals and lupus patients it is currently unclear whether these relate to the acute episode. Future studies are needed comparing NP-SLE patients with active CNS involvement with those inactive disease.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Our objective was to review the frequency and pattern of signal abnormalities seen on conventional MRI in patients with suspected neuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus (NP-SLE). We reviewed 116 MRI examinations of the brain performed on 85 patients with SLE, (81 women, four men, aged 21-78 years, mean 40.6 years) presenting with neurological disturbances. MRI was normal or nearly normal in 34%. In 60% high-signal lesions were observed on T2-weighted images, frequently in the frontal and parietal subcortical white matter. Infarct-like lesions involving gray and white matter were demonstrated in 21 of cases. Areas of restricted diffusion were seen in 12 of the 67 patients who underwent diffusion-weighted imaging. Other abnormalities included loss of brain volume, hemorrhage, meningeal enhancement, and bilateral high signal in occipital white-matter. The MRI findings alone did not allow us to distinguish between thromboembolic and inflammatory events in many patients. Some patients with normal MRI improved clinically while on immunosuppressive therapy. More sensitive and/or specific imaging methods, such as spectroscopy and perfusion-weighted imaging, should be investigated in these subgroups of patients with suspected NP-SLE.