Diffusion imaging in Huntington's disease: comprehensive review.

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Huntington's disease (HD) is a monogenic disorder with 100% penetrance. With the advent of genetic testing in adults, disease-related, structural brain changes can be investigated from the earliest, premorbid stages of HD. While examining macrostructural change characterises global neuronal damage, investigating microstructural alterations provides information regarding brain organisation and its underlying biological properties. Diffusion MRI can be used to track the progression of microstructural anomalies in HD decades prior to clinical disease onset, providing a greater understanding of neurodegeneration. Multiple approaches, including voxelwise, region of interest and tractography, have been used in HD cohorts, showing a centrifugal pattern of white matter (WM) degeneration starting from deep brain areas, which is consistent with neuropathological studies. The corpus callosum, longer WM tracts and areas that are more densely connected, in particular the sensorimotor network, also tend to be affected early during premanifest stages. Recent evidence supports the routine inclusion of diffusion analyses within clinical trials principally as an additional measure to improve understanding of treatment effects, while the advent of novel techniques such as multitissue compartment models and connectomics can help characterise the underpinnings of progressive functional decline in HD.

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