Emerging differences between Huntington's disease-like 2 and Huntington's disease: A comparison using MRI brain volumetry

David G. Anderson, Mark Haagensen, Aline Ferreira-Correia, Ronald Pierson, Jonathan Carr, Amanda Krause, Russell L. Margolis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Huntington's Disease-Like 2 (HDL2), caused by a CTG/CAG expansion in JPH3 on chromosome 16q24, is the most common Huntington's Disease (HD) phenocopy in populations with African ancestry. Qualitatively, brain MRIs of HDL2 patients have been indistinguishable from HD. To determine brain regions most affected in HDL2 a cross-sectional study using MRI brain volumetry was undertaken to compare the brains of nine HDL2, 11 HD and nine age matched control participants. Participants were ascertained from the region in South Africa with the world's highest HDL2 incidence. The HDL2 and HD patient groups showed no significant differences with respect to mean age at MRI, disease duration, abnormal triplet repeat length, or age at disease onset. Overall, intracerebral volumes were smaller in both affected groups compared to the control group. Comparing the HDL2 and HD groups across multiple covariates, cortical and subcortical volumes were similar with the exception that the HDL2 thalamic volumes were smaller. Consistent with other similarities between the two diseases, these results indicate a pattern of neurodegeneration in HDL2 that is remarkably similar to HD. However smaller thalamic volumes in HDL2 raises intriguing questions into the pathogenesis of both disorders, and how these volumetric differences relate to their respective phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101666
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
StatePublished - 2019


  • HD-phenocopy
  • Huntington's Disease
  • Huntington's Disease-like 2
  • MRI brain volumetry
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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