Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy reveals central neuroaxonal impairment in systemic sclerosis

Luca Bertinotti, Marzia Mortilla, Maria Letizia Conforti, Nicola Colangelo, Francesca Nacci, Angela Del Rosso, Claudio Fonda, Roberto Casale, Marco Matucci-Cerinic, Alberto Pignone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. Involvement of the central nervous system (CNS) in systemic sclerosis (SSc) is rare. Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy ( 1H-MRS) assesses in vivo cerebral metabolites. We investigated the biochemical modifications of the CNS in SSc. Methods. N-acetylaspartate/creatine ratio (NAA/Cr) and choline/creatine ratio (Cho/Cr) at right centrum semiovale (RCS) and at right basal ganglia (RBG) were evaluated by 1H-MRS in 12 patients with limited (lSSc) and 8 patients with diffuse SSc (dSSc) and 20 control subjects. Results. With 1H-MRS, a significant reduction of NAA/Cr ratio at RBG (p <0.02) and at RCS (p <0.002) was detected in SSc patients. Cho/Cr ratio was increased (p <0.02) in the RCS, but not in RBG. In patients with lSSc, a significant reduction of NAA/Cr was detected in RCS but not in RBG. Conclusion. Evidence of neuroaxonal damage strongly suggests the existence of CNS involvement in SSc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-551
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


  • Central nervous system
  • Neurometabolic alterations
  • Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy
  • Systemic sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology


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