In vivo proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy study on premature aging in adult Down's syndrome

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      Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) was performed in a group of 18 adult patients with Down's syndrome (DS) aged 20–46 years, and the peak area ratios (NAA/Cr, Cho/Cr, NAA/Cho) of N-acetylaspartate (NAA), total creatine (Cr), and choline-containing compounds (Cho) calculated separately in the patients in their 20's, 30's, and 40's. In age-matched healthy control groups, there were no significant age-related changes in any of the peak area ratios. In contrast, in the DS group, although the relative amount of NAA (NAA/Cr) showed no significant changes with increasing age, the relative amount of Cho (Cho/Cr and NAA/Cho) was significantly increased in the 40's group. At least as judged by MRI, few age-related general morphological changes such as brain atrophy were apparent in the third, fourth, and fifth decade groups. However, the MRI findings considered together with the age-related changes in the peak area ratios suggest that in DS patients in the fifth decade metabolic abnormalities such as degradation and/or rapid synthesis of brain cell membrane may occur prior to neuronal loss and degeneration.


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