Quantitative Muscle MRI Protocol as Possible Biomarker in Becker Muscular Dystrophy

Maggi, Lorenzo, Moscatelli, Marco, Frangiamore, Rita, Mazzi, Federica, Verri, Mattia, De Luca, Alberto, Pasanisi, Maria Barbara, Baranello, Giovanni, Tramacere, Irene, Chiapparini, Luisa, Bruzzone, Maria Grazia, Mantegazza, Renato, Aquino, Domenico


Clinical Neuroradiology


Purpose: Aim of this study is to compare Quantitative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (qMRI) measures between Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD) and Healthy Subjects (HS) and to correlate these parameters with clinical scores. Methods: Ten BMD patients (mean age ±standard deviation: 38.7 ± 15.0 years) and ten age-matched HS, were investigated through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at thigh and calf levels, including: 1) a standard axial T1-weighted sequence; 2) a volumetric T2-weighted sequence; 3) a multiecho spin-echo sequence; 4) a 2-point Dixon sequence; 5) a Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) sequence. Results: Mean Fat Fraction (FF), T2-relaxation time and Fractional Anisotropy (FA) DTI at thigh and calf levels were significantly higher in BMD patients than in HS (p-values < 0.01). FF at thigh and calf levels significantly correlated with North Star Ambulatory Assessment (NSAA) score (p-values < 0.01) and6 Minutes Walking Test (6MWT) (p-values < 0.01), whereas only calf muscle FF was significantly associated with time to get up from floor (p-value = 0.01). T2 significantly correlated with NSAA score (p-value < 0.01), 6MWT (p-value = 0.02) and time to get up from floor (p-value < 0.01) only at calf level. Among DTI values, only FA in thigh and calf muscles significantly correlated with NSAA score, 6MWT and 10-m walk (all p-values < 0.05); only FA in calf muscles significantly correlated with time to get up from floor (p = 0.01). Conclusions: Muscle FF, T2-relaxometry and DTI, seem to be a promising biomarker to assess BMD disease severity, although further studies are needed to evaluate changes over the time.