Positron emission tomographic scan investigations of Huntington's disease: cerebral metabolic correlates of cognitive function

Ann Neurol. 1988 Jun;23(6):541-6. doi: 10.1002/ana.410230603.


Fifteen drug-free patients with early to mid-stage Huntington's disease (HD) were evaluated with positron emission tomographic (PET) scans of 18F-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose uptake and quantitative measures of neurological function, learning, memory, and general intelligence. In comparison with a group of normal volunteers, the HD patients showed lower metabolism in both caudate (p less than 0.001) and putamen (p less than 0.001) on PET scans. A significant and positive relationship was found between neuropsychological measures of verbal learning and memory and caudate metabolism in the patient group but not in the normal group. Visual-spatial learning did not reflect a similar pattern, but performance intelligence quotient was positively related to both caudate and putamen metabolism in the HD group. Vocabulary level was unrelated to either brain structure. Discussion focuses on these and other observed brain-behavior relationships and on the implications of these findings for general behaviors such as those involved in coping and adaptation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Cognition*
  • Deoxyglucose / analogs & derivatives
  • Deoxyglucose / metabolism
  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Huntington Disease / metabolism
  • Huntington Disease / psychology
  • Organ Specificity
  • Reference Values
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed


  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Deoxyglucose