Microstructural Changes in the Corpus Callosum in Systemic Lupus Erythematous

Cells, Volume 12, Issue January 2023, 355

Central nervous system (CNS) involvement in childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus (cSLE) occurs in more than 50% of patients. Structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has identified global cerebral atrophy, as well as the involvement of the corpus callosum and hippocampus, which is associated with cognitive impairment. In this cross-sectional study we included 71 cSLE (mean age 24.7 years (SD 4.6) patients and a disease duration of 11.8 years (SD 4.8) and two control groups: (1) 49 adult-onset SLE (aSLE) patients (mean age of 33.2 (SD 3.7) with a similar disease duration and (2) 58 healthy control patients (mean age of 29.9 years (DP 4.1)) of a similar age. All of the individuals were evaluated on the day of the MRI scan (Phillips 3T scanner). We reviewed medical charts to obtain the clinical and immunological features and treatment history of the SLE patients. Segmentation of the corpus callosum was performed through an automated segmentation method. Patients with cSLE had a similar mid-sagittal area of the corpus callosum in comparison to the aSLE patients. When compared to the control groups, cSLE and aSLE had a significant reduction in the mid-sagittal area in the posterior region of the corpus callosum. We observed significantly lower FA values and significantly higher MD, RD, and AD values in the total area of the corpus callosum and in the parcels B, C, D, and E in cSLE patients when compared to the aSLE patients. Low complement, the presence of anticardiolipin antibodies, and cognitive impairment were associated with microstructural changes. In conclusion, we observed greater microstructural changes in the corpus callosum in adults with cSLE when compared to those with aSLE. Longitudinal studies are necessary to follow these changes, however they may explain the worse cognitive function and disability observed in adults with cSLE when compared to aSLE.


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Publication Info

  • Category: Brain
  • Authors: Paulo Rogério Julio, Thais Caldeira, Gustavo Retuci Pinheiro, Carla Helena Capello, Renan Bazuco Fritolli, Roberto Marini, Fernando Cendes, Paula Teixeira Fernandes, Lilian TL Costallat, Leticia Rittner, Simone Appenzeller