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Completed Research

Imaging of neuro-inflammation in PLS, HSP, and ALS

The Spastic Paraplegia Foundation funded Dr. Paganoni, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and co-Director at the Neurological Clinical Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital to conduct a neuroimaging study. This project allowed the study team to answer three important research questions:

1- Is there neuro-inflammation in people living with PLS? Neuro-inflammation is a type of inflammation that happens in the brain. In this study, the researchers found out that the answer is  YES: people with PLS have neuro-inflammation in areas of the brain that control muscle movements, where the Upper Motor Neurons are located. Thus, neuro-inflammation can play a role in the development and progression of PLS and is a potential target for intervention.

2- Is there neuro-inflammation in people living with HSP?
In this study, people with HSP were found to have little to no neuro-inflammation in their brains.

3- Is neuro-inflammation different in people with ALS compared to people with PLS (and HSP)? The study team had previously shown that neuro-inflammation plays a role in ALS, a different neurologic disease that progresses much faster than PLS or HSP, and that the areas of maximum neuro-inflammation are different in ALS compared to PLS (and HSP). These findings suggest that imaging of neuro-inflammation could be used as a tool for differentiating between the three conditions.

For additional details please see these scientific articles:

Imaging of glia activation in people with primary lateral sclerosis
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5681341/

Integrated MRI and [ 11 C]-PBR28 PET Imaging in Amyotrophic Lateral sclerosis
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6105567/

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