Verbal fluency, memory & executive functions impaired
This first study of neuropsychology in people with SPG11 found severe impairment in verbal fluency, memory and executive functions (that influence abilities and skills in attention, planning, organising, emotional control and others). Reaction times correlated with disease progression.
Background: SPG11-linked hereditary spastic paraplegia is characterized by multisystem neurodegeneration leading to a complex clinical and yet incurable phenotype of progressive spasticity and weakness. Severe cognitive symptoms are present in the majority of SPG11 patients, but a systematic and multidimensional analysis of the neuropsychological phenotype in a larger cohort is lacking. While thinning of the corpus callosum is a well-known structural hallmark observed in SPG11 patients, the neuroanatomical pattern of cortical degeneration is less understood. We here aimed to integrate neuropsychological and brain morphometric measures in SPG11.
Methods: We examined the neuropsychological profile in 16 SPG11 patients using a defined neuropsychological testing battery. Long-term follow up testing was performed in 7 patients. Cortical and subcortical degeneration was analyzed using an approved, artificial intelligence based magnetic resonance imaging brain morphometry, comparing patients to established reference values and to matched controls.
Results: In SPG11 patients, verbal fluency and memory as well as frontal-executive functions were severely impaired. Later disease stages were associated with a global pattern of impairments. Interestingly, reaction times correlated significantly with disease progression. Brain morphometry showed a significant reduction of cortical and subcortical parenchymal volume following a rostro-caudal gradient in SPG11. Whereas performance in memory tasks correlated with white matter damage, verbal fluency measures showed strong associations with frontal and parietal cortical volumes.
Conclusions: The present data will help define neuropsychological and imaging read out parameters in early as well as in advanced clinical stages for future interventional trials in SPG11.
SOURCE: Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2022 Jul 29;17(1):301. doi: 10.1186/s13023-022-02451-1. PMID: 35906604 © 2022. The Author(s).
Neuropsychology and MRI correlates of neurodegeneration in SPG11 hereditary spastic paraplegia
1. Department of Neurology, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), Erlangen, Germany.
2. Department of Molecular Neurology, FAU, Schwabachanlage 6, 91054, Erlangen, Germany.
3. Center for Rare Diseases (ZSEER), University Hospital Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany.
4. Department of Neurology, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.
5. Department of Neuroradiology, FAU, Erlangen, Germany.
6. Department of Neurology, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), Erlangen, Germany.
7. Department of Molecular Neurology, FAU, Schwabachanlage 6, 91054, Erlangen, Germany.
8. Center for Rare Diseases (ZSEER), University Hospital Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany.
# Contributed equally.