Image segmentation methods may be classified into two categories: purely image based and model based. Each of these two classes has its own advantages and disadvantages. In this paper, we propose a novel synergistic combination of the image based graph-cut (GC) method with the model based ASM method to arrive at the GC-ASM method for medical image segmentation. A multi-object GC cost function is proposed which effectively integrates the ASM shape information into the GC framework. The proposed method consists of two phases: model building and segmentation. In the model building phase, the ASM model is built and the parameters of the GC are estimated. The segmentation phase consists of two main steps: initialization (recognition) and delineation. For initialization, an automatic method is proposed which estimates the pose (translation, orientation, and scale) of the model, and obtains a rough segmentation result which also provides the shape information for the GC method. For delineation, an iterative GC-ASM algorithm is proposed which performs finer delineation based on the initialization results. The proposed methods are implemented to operate on 2D images and evaluated on clinical chest CT, abdominal CT, and foot MRI data sets. The results show the following: (a) An overall delineation accuracy of TPVF > 96%, FPVF < 0.6% can be achieved via GC-ASM for different objects, modalities, and body regions. (b) GC-ASM improves over ASM in its accuracy and precision to search region. (c) GC-ASM requires far fewer landmarks (about 1/3 of ASM) than ASM. (d) GC-ASM achieves full automation in the segmentation step compared to GC which requires seed specification and improves on the accuracy of GC. (e) One disadvantage of GC-ASM is its increased computational expense owing to the iterative nature of the algorithm.
Object Recognition; Image Segmentation; Statistical Shape Models; Graph Cut
Conventional non-invasive imaging modalities of atherosclerosis such as coronary artery calcium (CAC)1 and carotid intimal medial thickness (C-IMT)2 provide information about the burden of disease. However, despite multiple validation studies of CAC3–5, and C-IMT2,6, these modalities do not accurately assess plaque characteristics7,8, and the composition and inflammatory state of the plaque determine its stability and, therefore, the risk of clinical events9–13.
[18F]-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) imaging using positron-emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) has been extensively studied in oncologic metabolism14,15. Studies using animal models and immunohistochemistry in humans show that FDG-PET/CT is exquisitely sensitive for detecting macrophage activity16, an important source of cellular inflammation in vessel walls. More recently, we17,18 and others have shown that FDG-PET/CT enables highly precise, novel measurements of inflammatory activity of activity of atherosclerotic plaques in large and medium-sized arteries9,16,19,20. FDG-PET/CT studies have many advantages over other imaging modalities: 1) high contrast resolution; 2) quantification of plaque volume and metabolic activity allowing for multi-modal atherosclerotic plaque quantification; 3) dynamic, real-time, in vivo imaging; 4) minimal operator dependence. Finally, vascular inflammation detected by FDG-PET/CT has been shown to predict cardiovascular (CV) events independent of traditional risk factors21,22 and is also highly associated with overall burden of atherosclerosis23. Plaque activity by FDG-PET/CT is modulated by known beneficial CV interventions such as short term (12 week) statin therapy24 as well as longer term therapeutic lifestyle changes (16 months)25.
The current methodology for quantification of FDG uptake in atherosclerotic plaque involves measurement of the standardized uptake value (SUV) of an artery of interest and of the venous blood pool in order to calculate a target to background ratio (TBR), which is calculated by dividing the arterial SUV by the venous blood pool SUV. This method has shown to represent a stable, reproducible phenotype over time, has a high sensitivity for detection of vascular inflammation, and also has high inter-and intra-reader reliability26. Here we present our methodology for patient preparation, image acquisition, and quantification of atherosclerotic plaque activity and vascular inflammation using SUV, TBR, and a global parameter called the metabolic volumetric product (MVP). These approaches may be applied to assess vascular inflammation in various study samples of interest in a consistent fashion as we have shown in several prior publications9,20,27,28
FDG-PET/CT; atherosclerosis; vascular inflammation; quantitative radiology
Objective: Psoriasis (PSO) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) increase cardiovascular diseases (CVD) beyond traditional risk factors. Vascular inflammation has previously been demonstrated to be present in PSO and RA using [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography/computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT) imaging. However, vascular inflammation has not been compared in these two disorders relative to a healthy reference population. Thus, vascular inflammation was quantitatively assessed in patients with PSO (n=10), RA (n=5), and healthy subjects (n=10) using FDG-PET/CT. Methods: FDG-PET/CT mean standardized uptake value (SUVmean) was determined slice by slice within the ascending, aortic arch, descending thoracic, suprarenal abdominal, and infrarenal abdominal aorta, and the mean metabolic volumetric product (MVPmean) was then calculated for each aortic subsegment. Plasma lipids and metabolic and inflammatory markers were also assessed. Results: CVD risk profiles were largely similar across groups. After adjustment for CV risk factors, regional aortic vascular inflammation based on MVPmean was elevated for both PSO (beta coefficients 0.31-1.47, p<0.001) and RA (beta coefficients 0.15-0.69, p<0.05) compared to healthy subjects. Conclusions: These observations using FDG-PET/CT to estimate vascular inflammation support epidemiological findings of premature atherosclerosis in PSO and RA. The use of FDG-PET/CT to investigate vascular inflammation across systemic inflammatory diseases warrants further examination in larger study populations.
Psoriasis; rheumatoid arthritis; atherosclerosis; vascular inflammation; FDG-PET/CT
The rapidly rising prevalence and cost of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in recent decades has made the imaging of amyloid-β (Aβ) deposits the focus of intense research. Several amyloid imaging probes with purported specificity for Aβ plaques are currently at various stages of FDA approval. However, a number of factors appear to preclude these probes from clinical utilization. As the available “amyloid specific” PET imaging probes have failed to demonstrate diagnostic value and have shown limited utility for monitoring therapeutic interventions in humans, a debate on their significance has emerged. The aim of this review is to identify and discuss critically the scientific issues contributing to the extensive inconsistencies reported in the literature on their purported in vivo amyloid specificity and potential utilization in patients.
amyloid imaging; amyloid ‘specific’ imaging probes; Amyvid; PIB; critical review; neuropathologic criteria; silent medial temporal lobe
The utility flourodeoxyglucose PET (FDG-PET) imaging in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) diagnosis is well established. Recently, measurement of cerebral blood flow using arterial spin labeling MRI (ASL-MRI) has shown diagnostic potential in AD, though it has never been directly compared to FDG-PET.
We employed a novel imaging protocol to obtain FDG-PET and ASL-MRI images concurrently in 17 AD patients and 19 age-matched controls. Paired FDG-PET and ASL-MRI images from 19 controls and 15 AD patients were included for qualitative analysis, while paired images 18 controls and 13 AD patients were suitable for quantitative analyses.
The combined imaging protocol was well tolerated. Both modalities revealed very similar regional abnormalities in AD, as well as comparable sensitivity and specificity for the detection of AD following visual review by two expert readers. Interobserver agreement was better for FDG-PET (kappa 0.75, SE 0.12) than ASL-MRI (kappa 0.51, SE 0.15), intermodality agreement was moderate to strong (kappa 0.45-0.61), and readers were more confident of FDG-PET reads. Simple quantitative analysis of global cerebral FDG uptake (FDG-PET) or whole brain cerebral blood flow (ASL-MRI) showed excellent diagnostic accuracy for both modalities, with area under ROC curves of 0.90 for FDG-PET (95% CI 0.79-0.99) and 0.91 for ASL-MRI (95% CI 0.80-1.00).
Our results demonstrate that FDG-PET and ASL-MRI identify similar regional abnormalities and have comparable diagnostic accuracy in a small population of AD patients, and support the further study of ASL-MRI in dementia diagnosis.
ASL; FDG; PET; MRI; Alzheimer’s disease; spin label; fluorodeoxyglucose; dementia
False positive recognition is crucial for proper interpretation of FDG-PET studies. The authors present a case of a woman who underwent surgery over a month prior to PET/CT imaging which revealed significant tracer uptake within muscles and soft tissue in several sites contralateral to the location of surgery. The FDG-PET images of this case illustrate the importance of communication between physicians ordering and physicians reading FDG-PET/CT scans as well as atypical FDG-PET findings that could be interpreted as concerning but are, in fact, innocuous. This study also demonstrates the unusual glucose metabolic patterns which may arise following treatment be it surgical, chemotherapeutic or radiation.
positron emission tomography; fluorodeoxyglucose; inflammation; post-surgical changes
To assess 18F-labeled 2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (18F-FDG) uptake in children with a newly diagnosed diffuse intrinsic brainstem glioma (BSG) and to investigate associations with progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS) and MRI indices.
Two Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium (PBTC) therapeutic trials in children with newly diagnosed BSG were designed to test radiation therapy combined with molecularly targeted agents (PBTC-007: Phase I/II study of gefitinib; PBTC-014: Phase I/II study of tipifarnib). Baseline brain 18F-FDG PET scans were obtained in 40 children in these trials. Images were evaluated by consensus of two PET experts for intensity and uniformity of tracer uptake. Associations of 18F-FDG uptake intensity and uniformity with both PFS and OS were evaluated as well as associations with tumor MRI indices at baseline (tumor volume on FLAIR, baseline intratumoral enhancement, diffusion and perfusion values.
In the majority of children, BSG 18F-FDG uptake was less than gray matter uptake. Survival was poor irrespective of intensity of 18F-FDG uptake, with no association between intensity of 18F-FDG uptake and PFS or OS. However, hyperintense 18F-FDG uptake in tumor compared to gray matter suggested poorer survival rates. Patients with 18F-FDG uptake in ≥ 50% of the tumor had shorter PFS and OS compared to patients with 18F-FDG uptake in < 50% of tumor. There was some evidence that tumors with higher 18F-FDG uptake were more likely to show enhancement; and when the diffusion ratio was lower the uniformity of 18F- FDG uptake appeared higher.
Children with BSG where 18F-FDG uptake involves at least half the tumor appear to have inferior survival compared to children with uptake in <50% of tumor. A larger independent study is needed to verify this hypothesis. Intense tracer uptake in the tumors compared to gray matter suggests decreased survival. Higher 18F-FDG uptake within the tumor was associated with enhancement on MRI. Increased tumor cellularity as reflected by restricted MR diffusion may be associated with increased 18F-FDG uniformity throughout the tumor.
pediatric; brainstem glioma; 18F-FDG PET; MRI; diffusion; enhancement; perfusion; brain tumor
Psoriasis is a model Th1-mediated inflammatory disease associated with increased incidence of stroke and cardiovascular disease (CVD). The mechanism behind these associations is unknown, however abnormal HDL particle composition measured by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy has been shown to be associated with CVD. Using [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET/CT), a validated surrogate marker of CVD, we assessed whether HDL particle size and concentration were associated with vascular inflammation in patients with psoriasis. Patients with psoriasis were prospectively enrolled (439 aortic samples from 10 patients). Lipoprotein profiles using NMR spectroscopy were obtained and the relationship between vascular inflammation within the thoracic aorta by FDG-PET/CT was analyzed for association with lipoprotein particle characteristics. The plasma total cholesterol (206 mg/dL (IQR 154-229)), LDL (105 (90-161)), and triglyceride levels were within normal range (151 (94-191)) while HDL levels were low (28.9 (27.2-31.3)); however, the NMR profile demonstrated an atherogenic profile with increased small LDL and HDL particles. Total HDL particle concentration (p<0.001) and HDL particle size (p<0.001) were associated with decreased aortic inflammation, while concentration of small HDL particles was associated with increased inflammation (p<0.001). The association of total HDL particle concentration (β -0.0113, p=0.002) and small HDL particle concentration (β 0.026, p<0.001) with aortic inflammation persisted following adjustment for CVD risk factors. Total HDL particle concentration and small HDL particle concentration were associated with vascular inflammation within the thoracic aorta in psoriasis. These findings suggest that HDL particle characteristics may play an important role in psoriatic vascular inflammation and CVD.
Psoriasis; inflammation; atherosclerosis; high-density lipoprotein cholesterol particle; FDG PET CT
Nanomedicine is emerging as a promising approach for diagnostic applications. Nanoparticles are structures in the nanometer size range, which can present different shapes, compositions, charges, surface modifications, in vitro and in vivo stabilities, and in vivo performances. Nanoparticles can be made of materials of diverse chemical nature, the most common being metals, metal oxides, silicates, polymers, carbon, lipids, and biomolecules. Nanoparticles exist in various morphologies, such as spheres, cylinders, platelets, and tubes. Radiolabeled nanoparticles represent a new class of agent with great potential for clinical applications. This is partly due to their long blood circulation time and plasma stability. In addition, because of the high sensitivity of imaging with radiolabeled compounds, their use has promise of achieving accurate and early diagnosis. This review article focuses on the application of radiolabeled nanoparticles in detecting diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases and also presents an overview about the formulation, stability, and biological properties of the nanoparticles used for diagnostic purposes.
nanoparticles; PET imaging; SPECT imaging; tumor; inflammation; cardiovascular disease
This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to quantify the diagnostic performance of pancreatic venous sampling (PVS), selective pancreatic arterial calcium stimulation with hepatic venous sampling (ASVS), and 18F-DOPA positron emission tomography (PET) in diagnosing and localizing focal congenital hyperinsulinism (CHI).
This systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted according to the PRISMA statement. PubMed, EMBASE, SCOPUS and Web of Science electronic databases were systematically searched from their inception to November 1, 2011. Using predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria, two blinded reviewers selected articles. Critical appraisal ranked the retrieved articles according to relevance and validity by means of the QUADAS-2 criteria. Pooled data of homogeneous study results estimated the sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratios and diagnostic odds ratio (DOR).
18F-DOPA PET was superior in distinguishing focal from diffuse CHI (summary DOR, 73.2) compared to PVS (summary DOR, 23.5) and ASVS (summary DOR, 4.3). Furthermore, it localized focal CHI in the pancreas more accurately than PVS and ASVS (pooled accuracy, 0.82 vs. 0.76, and 0.64, respectively). Important limitations comprised the inclusion of studies with small sample sizes, high probability of bias and heterogeneity among their results. Studies with small sample sizes and high probability of bias tended to overestimate the diagnostic accuracy.
This systematic review and meta-analysis found evidence for the superiority of 18F-DOPA PET in diagnosing and localizing focal CHI in patients requiring surgery for this disease.
Congenital hyperinsulinism; Pancreatic venous sampling; Arterial stimulation venous sampling; 18F-DOPA PET; Positron emission tomography; Diagnosis
To evaluate the feasibility of utilizing [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET/CT) to detect and quantify systemic inflammation in psoriasis patients.
Case series with a nested case-control study.
Referral dermatology and preventive cardiology practices.
Six patients with psoriasis affecting >10% body surface area and 4 controls age and sex matched to 4 psoriasis patients for a nested case-control study.
Main Outcome Measures
FDG uptake in the liver, musculoskeletal structures, and aorta measured by mean Standardized Uptake Value (SUV), a measure of FDG tracer uptake by macrophages and other inflammatory cells.
FDG-PET/CT identified numerous foci of inflammation in 6 patients with psoriasis within the skin, liver, joints, tendons, and aorta. Inflammation in the joints was observed in a patient with psoriatic arthritis as well as in 1 patient with no history of joint disease or joint symptoms. In a nested case-control study, FDG-PET/CT imaging demonstrated increased vascular inflammation in multiple segments of the aorta compared to controls. These findings persisted after adjustment for traditional cardiovascular risk factors in multivariate analysis (mean beta 0.33, p<0.001). Patients with psoriasis further demonstrated increased hepatic inflammation after adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors (beta 0.18, p<0.001), but the association was no longer significant when adjusted for alcohol intake (beta −0.25, p=0.07).
FDG-PET/CT is a sensitive tool for identifying inflammation and can be used to identify clinically observed inflammation in the skin and subclinical inflammation in the blood vessels, joints, and liver of patients with psoriasis.
Difficulties in the use, preparation, and cost of radioactively-labeled glycosylated compounds led to this research and development study of a new gadolinium-labeled glucose compound that does not have a radioactive half-life or difficulties in its synthesis and utilization.
Based on the structure of the 2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose molecule (18FDG), a new compound consisting of D-glucose (1.1 nm) conjugated to a well-known chelator, diethylenetriamine penta-acetic acid (DTPA), was synthesized, labeled with Gd3+, and examined in vitro and in vivo.
This novel compound not only demonstrated excellent and less costly imaging capability, but also showed anticancer effects on treated cells. Our results demonstrated that the new Gd3+-DTPA-DG compound (GDD, with GDD conjugate aggregation of about 8 nm at 0.02 mg/mL concentration) significantly decreased HT1080 and HT29 tumor cell numbers. Application of GDD to cancer cells also increased levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha, but did not alter blood glucose levels. Interestingly, no toxicological findings were seen in normal human kidney cells.
Dual application of GDD for both imaging and treatment of tumor cells could be remarkably advantageous in both the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
fluorodeoxyglucose; Gd3+-DTPA-DG; positron emission tomography; diagnostics; treatment
It is hoped that in the not too distant future, noninvasive imaging–based molecular interrogation and characterization of tumors can improve our fundamental understanding of the dynamic biologic behavior of cancer. For example, the new dimension of diagnostic information that is provided by 18F-FDG PET has led to improved clinical decision making and management changes in a substantial number of patients with cancer. In this context, the aim of this review is to bring together and summarize the current data on the correlation between the underlying molecular biology and the clinical observations of tumor 18F-FDG accumulation in 3 major human cancers: lung, breast, and colon.
molecular biology; molecular imaging; oncology; PET; PET/CT; breast cancer; colon cancer; 18F-FDG; lung cancer
Carcinoma of unknown primary (CUP) is a heterogeneous group of metastatic malignancies in which a primary tumor could not be detected despite thorough diagnostic evaluation. Because of its high sensitivity for the detection of lesions, combined 18F-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG PET)/computed tomography (CT) may be an excellent alternative to CT alone and conventional magnetic resonance imaging in detecting the unknown primary tumor. This article will review the use, diagnostic performance, and utility of FDG PET/CT in CUP and will discuss challenges and future considerations in the diagnostic management of CUP.
18F-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose; Position emission tomography; Computed tomography; FDG PET/CT; Carcinoma of unknown primary; Primary tumor detection
A battery of diagnostic tests is often required to differentiate aseptic loosening from periprosthetic infection since the gold standard remains elusive. We designed a prospective study to determine the accuracy of fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) imaging in diagnosing periprosthetic infection in a large multicenter setting. One hundred and thirteen patients with 127 painful hip prostheses were evaluated by FDG-PET. Images were considered positive for infection if PET demonstrated increased FDG activity at the bone-prosthesis interface of the femoral component. A combination of preoperative tests, intraoperative findings, histopathology, and clinical followup constituted the gold standard for diagnosing infection. Among the 35 positive PET scans, 28 hips were confirmed infected according to our criteria for diagnosing periprosthetic infection. Of the 92 hip prostheses with negative FDG-PET findings, 87 were considered aseptic. The sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values for FDG-PET were 0.85 (28 of 33), 0.93 (87 of 94), 0.80 (28 of 35), and 0.95 (87 of 92), respectively. The overall accuracy of this novel noninvasive imaging modality reached 0.91 (115 of 127). Based on our results, FDG-PET appears a promising and accurate diagnostic tool for distinguishing septic from aseptic painful hip prostheses.
Level of Evidence: Level II, diagnostic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
During the past several years, it has become quite evident that positron emission tomography (PET) with 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) imaging can play a major role in the management of patients with suspected infection. Particularly, several groups have demonstrated that this powerful imaging methodology is very effective in the evaluation of osteomyelitis, infected prostheses, fever of unknown origin, and AIDS. In view of its extraordinary sensitivity in detecting disease activity and the ability to quantitate the degree of FDG uptake, PET might prove to be an appropriate modality for monitoring disease activity and evaluating response to therapy. FDG-PET has many advantages over existing imaging techniques for the diagnosis of infectious diseases. These include feasibility of securing diagnostic results within 1.5 to 2 h, excellent spatial resolution, and accurate anatomical localization of sites of abnormality. The availability of PET/computed tomography as a practical tool has further enhanced the role of metabolic imaging in many settings. In the future, this modality is very likely to be employed on a routine basis for detecting, characterizing, and monitoring patients with suspected and proven infection.
The evaluation of stem cell–mediated cardiomyoplasty by noninvasive in vivo imaging is critical for its clinical application. We hypothesized that dual-tracer small-animal SPECT would allow simultaneous imaging of 99mTc-sestamibi to assess myocardial perfusion and of 111In-labeled stem cells to delineate stem cell engraftment.
Three to 4 million rat embryonic cardiomyoblasts (H9c2 cells) were labeled with 11.1–14.8 MBq (0.3–0.4 mCi) of 111In-oxyquinoline and then injected into the border zones of infarcted myocardium of rats. 111In images were acquired with a SPECT scanner 2, 24, 48, 72, and 96 h after the stem cells were injected into the infarcted myocardium. To visualize the perfusion deficit in the infarcted myocardium, we injected 74 MBq (2 mCi) of 99mTc-sestamibi (Cardiolite) intravenously 48 h after grafting. Dual-isotope pinhole SPECT was used to image 99mTc-sestamibi uptake simultaneously with 111In to delineate retention of 111In-labeled stem cells. The presence of labeled stem cells was confirmed by autoradiography and histology.
SPECT of 99mTc-sestamibi was used to delineate perfusion deficits and infarcted myocardium. Bull's-eye plots indicated that the 111In signal from the labeled stem cells overlapped the perfusion deficits identified from the 99mTc-sestamibi images. The 111In signal associated with the radiolabeled stem cells could be detected with SPECT of the heart for 96 h after engraftment.
This study demonstrated the feasibility of using dual-isotope pinhole SPECT for high-resolution detection of perfusion deficits with 99mTc-sestamibi and with 111In-labeled stem cells grafted into the region of the infarct.
myocardium; ischemia; stem cells; indium; sestamibi; SPECT
Although most functional neuroimaging studies examine task effects, interest intensifies in the “default” resting brain. Resting conditions show consistent regional activity, yet oxygen extraction fraction constancy across regions. We compared resting cerebral metabolic rates of glucose (CMRgl) measured with 18F-labeled 2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose to cerebral blood flow (CBF) 15O-H2O measures, using the same positron emission tomography scanner in 2 samples (n = 60 and 30) of healthy right-handed adults. Region to whole-brain ratios were calculated for 35 standard regions of interest, and compared between CBF and CMRgl to determine perfusion relative to metabolism. Primary visual and auditory areas showed coupling between CBF and CMRgl, limbic and subcortical regions—basal ganglia, thalamus and posterior fossa structures—were hyperperfused, whereas association cortices were hypoperfused. Hyperperfusion was higher in left than right hemisphere for most cortical and subcallosal limbic regions, but symmetric in cingulate, basal ganglia and somatomotor regions. Hyperperfused regions are perhaps those where activation is anticipated at short notice, whereas downstream cortical modulatory regions have longer “lead times” for deployment. The novel observation of systematic uncoupling of CBF and CMRgl may help elucidate the potential biological significance of the “default” resting state. Whether greater left hemispheric hyperperfusion reflects lateral dominance needs further examination.
functional neuroimaging; metabolic coupling; resting brain
We report seven patients, six from a single institution, who developed subacute limbic encephalitis initially considered of uncertain aetiology. Four patients presented with symptoms of hippocampal dysfunction (i.e. severe short-term memory loss) and three with extensive limbic dysfunction (i.e. confusion, seizures and suspected psychosis). Brain MRI and [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-PET complemented each other but did not overlap in 50% of the patients. Combining both tests, all patients had temporal lobe abnormalities, five with additional areas involved. In one patient, FDG hyperactivity in the brainstem that was normal on MRI correlated with central hypoventilation; in another case, hyperactivity in the cerebellum anticipated ataxia. All patients had abnormal CSF: six pleocytosis, six had increased protein concentration, and three of five examined had oligoclonal bands. A tumour was identified and removed in four patients (mediastinal teratoma, thymoma, thymic carcinoma and thyroid cancer) and not treated in one (ovarian teratoma). An immunohistochemical technique that facilitates the detection of antibodies to cell surface or synaptic proteins demonstrated that six patients had antibodies to the neuropil of hippocampus or cerebellum, and one to intraneuronal antigens. Only one of the neuropil antibodies corresponded to voltage-gated potassium channel (VGKC) antibodies; the other five (two with identical specificity) reacted with antigens concentrated in areas of high dendritic density or synaptic-enriched regions of the hippocampus or cerebellum. Preliminary characterization of these antigens indicates that they are diverse and expressed on the neuronal cell membrane and dendrites; they do not co-localize with VGKCs, but partially co-localize with spinophilin. A target autoantigen in one of the patients co-localizes with a cell surface protein involved in hippocampal dendritic development. All patients except the one with antibodies to intracellular antigens had dramatic clinical and neuroimaging responses to immunotherapy or tumour resection; two patients had neurological relapse and improved with immunotherapy. Overall, the phenotype associated with the novel neuropil antibodies includes dominant behavioural and psychiatric symptoms and seizures that often interfere with the evaluation of cognition and memory, and brain MRI or FDG-PET abnormalities less frequently restricted to the medial temporal lobes than in patients with classical paraneoplastic or VGKC antibodies. When compared with patients with VGKC antibodies, patients with these novel antibodies are more likely to have CSF inflammatory abnormalities and systemic tumours (teratoma and thymoma), and they do not develop SIADH-like hyponatraemia. Although most autoantigens await characterization, all share intense expression by the neuropil of hippocampus, with patterns of immunolabelling characteristic enough to suggest the diagnosis of these disorders and predict response to treatment.
limbic encephalitis; neuronal autoantibodies; paraneoplastic syndrome; PET; MRI