• Huntington's disease;
  • Caudate;
  • MRI;
  • Presymptomatic;
  • Longitudinal change


Previous research by our group demonstrated a longitudinal change in caudate volume for symptomatic subjects with Huntington's disease (HD), and suggested that volume of the caudate may be a useful outcome measure for therapeutic studies in symptomatic patients. The current study was designed to determine whether longitudinal change in caudate atrophy could be documented in presymptomatic carriers of the HD gene mutation, and to compare rate of change in these subjects with rate of change in mildly and moderately affected symptomatic patients. We measured caudate volumes on serial magnetic resonance image scans from 30 patients at three stages of HD: 10 presymptomatic; 10 with mild symptoms, as indicated by scores on the Quantified Neurological Exam (QNE) ≤35; and 10 with moderate symptoms (QNE >45). The mean interscan interval was 36 months. When analyzed separately, both symptomatic groups and the presymptomatic group demonstrated a significant change in caudate volume over time. Amount of change over time did not differ significantly among the three groups. We conclude that change in caudate volume may be a useful outcome measure for assessing treatment effectiveness in both presymptomatic and symptomatic subjects.