Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Spectroscopy in Succinic Semialdehyde Dehydrogenase Deficiency

J Child Neurol. 2021 Nov;36(13-14):1162-1168. doi: 10.1177/0883073821991295. Epub 2021 Feb 9.


Succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase (SSADH) deficiency is an autosomal recessive disorder of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) degradation, resulting in elevations of brain GABA and γ-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB). Previous magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy studies have shown increased levels of Glx in SSADH deficiency patients. Here in this work, we measure brain GABA in a large cohort of SSADH deficiency patients using advanced MR spectroscopy techniques that allow separation of GABA from overlapping metabolite peaks. We observed significant increases in GABA concentrations in SSADH deficiency patients for all 3 brain regions that were evaluated. Although GABA levels were higher in all 3 regions, each region had different patterns in terms of GABA changes with respect to age. We also report results from structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the same cohort compared with age-matched controls. We consistently observed signal hyperintensities in globus pallidus and cerebellar dentate nucleus.

Keywords: GABA; MEGAPRESS; MRI; SSADH; spectroscopy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural