White matter alterations in the brains of patients with active, remitted, and cured cushing syndrome: A DTI study

P. Pires, A. Santos, Y. Vives-Gilabert, S. M. Webb, A. Sainz-Ruiz, E. Resmini, I. Crespo, M. De Juan-Delago, Beatriz Gómez-Ansón

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23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Cushing syndrome appears after chronic exposure to elevated glucocorticoid levels. Cortisol excess may alter white matter microstructure. Our purpose was to study WM changes in patients with Cushing syndrome compared with controls by using DTI and the influence of hypercortisolism. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirty-five patients with Cushing syndrome and 35 healthy controls, matched for age, education, and sex, were analyzed through DTI (tract-based spatial statistics) for fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity, axial diffusivity, and radial diffusivity (general linear model, family-wise error, and threshold-free cluster enhancement corrections, P < .05). Furthermore, the influence of hypercortisolism on WM DTI changes was studied by comparing 4 subgroups: 8 patients with Cushing syndrome with active hypercortisolism, 7 with Cushing syndrome with medication-remitted cortisol, 20 surgically cured, and 35 controls. Cardiovascular risk factors were used as covariates. In addition, correlations were analyzed among DTI values, concomitant 24-hour urinary free cortisol levels, and disease duration. RESULTS: There were widespread alterations (reduced fractional anisotropy, and increased mean diffusivity, axial diffusivity, and radial diffusivity values; P < .05) in patients with Cushing syndrome compared with controls, independent of the cardiovascular risk factors present. Both active and cured Cushing syndrome subgroups showed similar changes compared with controls. Patients with medically remitted Cushing syndrome also had reduced fractional anisotropy and increased mean diffusivity and radial diffusivity values, compared with controls. No correlations were found between DTI maps and 24-hour urinary free cortisol levels or with disease duration. CONCLUSIONS: Diffuse WM alterations in patients with Cushing syndrome suggest underlying loss of WM integrity and demyelination. Once present, they seem to be independent of concomitant hypercortisolism, persisting after remission/cure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1043-1048
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Volume36
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015

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