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
Integrated MRI and [ 11 C]-PBR28 PET Imaging in Amyotrophic Lateral sclerosis