MRI findings in AOA2 : Cerebellar atrophy and abnormal iron detection in dentate nucleus
Frismand S
Salem H
Panouillères M
Pélisson D
Jacobs S
Vighetto A
Cotton F
Tilikete C

Ataxia with Oculomotor Apraxia type 2 (AOA2) is one of the most frequent types of autosomal degenerative cerebellar ataxia. The first objective of this work was to identify specific cerebellar atrophy using MRI in patients with AOA2. Since increased iron deposits have been reported in degenerative diseases, our second objective was to report iron deposits signals in the dentate nuclei in AOA2. Five patients with AOA2 and 5 age-matched controls were subjects in a 3T MRI experiment that included a 3D turbo field echo T1-weighted sequence. The normalized volumes of twenty-eight cerebellar lobules and the percentage of atrophy (relative to controls) of the 4 main cerebellar regions (flocculo-nodular, vermis, anterior and posterior) were measured. The dentate nucleus signals using 3D fast field echo sequence for susceptibility-weighted images (SWI) were reported, as a measure of iron content. We found that all patients had a significant atrophy of all cerebellar lobules as compared to controls. The percentage of atrophy was the highest for the vermis, consistent with patients' oculomotor presentation, and for the anterior lobe, consistent with kinetic limb ataxia. We also describe an absence of hypointensity of the iron signal on SWI in the dentate nucleus of all patients compared to control subjects. This study suggests that patients with Ataxia with Oculomotor Apraxia type 2 present MRI patterns consistent with their clinical presentation. The absence of SWI hypointensity in dentate nucleus is a new radiological sign which was identified in all patients. The specificity of this absence of signal must be further determined in AOA2.