Magnetic resonance metrics to evaluate the effect of therapy in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: the experience with edaravone.

Edaravone was approved as a new treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), although there are different opinions on its effectiveness. Magnetic resonance (MRI) measures appear promising as diagnostic and prognostic indicators of disease. However, published studies on MRI using to monitor treatment efficacy in ALS are lacking.The objective of this study was to investigate changes in brain MRI measures in patients treated with edaravone.Thirteen ALS patients assuming edaravone (ALS-EDA) underwent MRI at baseline (T0) and after 6 months (T6) to measure cortical thickness (CT) and fractional anisotropy (FA) of white matter (WM) tracts. MRI data of ALS-EDA were compared at T0 with those of 12 control subjects (CS), and at T6 with those of 11 ALS patients assuming only riluzole (ALS-RIL), extracted from our ALS cohort using a propensity-score-matching. A longitudinal MRI analysis was performed in ALS-EDA between T6 and T0.At T0, ALS-EDA showed a cortical widespread thinning in both hemispheres, particularly in the bilateral precentral gyrus, and a reduction of FA in bilateral corticospinal tracts, in comparison to CS. Thinning in bilateral precentral cortex and significant widespread reduction of FA in several WM tracts were observed in ALS-EDA at T6 compared to T0. At T6, no significant differences in MRI measures of ALS-EDA versus ALS-RIL were found.Patients treated with edaravone showed progression of damage in the motor cortex and several WM tracts, at a six-month follow-up. Moreover, this study showed no evidence of a difference between edaravone and riluzole.

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Authors: Eugenio Distaso, Giammarco Milella, Domenico Maria Mezzapesa, Alessandro Introna, Eustachio D'Errico, Angela Fraddosio, Stefano Zoccolella, Franca Dicuonzo, Isabella Laura Simone