Objective: To evaluate the effects of corticosteroids on the lower extremity muscles in boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) using MRI and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Methods: Transverse relaxation time (T2) and fat fraction were measured by MRI/MRS in lower extremity muscles of 15 boys with DMD (age 5.0-6.9 years) taking corticosteroids and 15 corticosteroid-naive boys. Subsequently, fat fraction was measured in a subset of these boys at 1 year. Finally, MRI/MRS data were collected from 16 corticosteroid-naive boys with DMD (age 5-8.9 years) at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months. Five boys were treated with corticosteroids after baseline and the remaining 11 served as corticosteroid-naive controls. Results: Cross-sectional comparisons demonstrated lower muscle T2 and less intramuscular (IM) fat deposition in boys with DMD on corticosteroids, suggesting reduced inflammation/damage and fat infiltration with treatment. Boys on corticosteroids demonstrated less increase in IM fat infiltration at 1 year. Finally, T2 by MRI/MRS detected effects of corticosteroids on leg muscles as early as 3 months after drug initiation. Conclusions: These results demonstrate the ability of MRI/MRS to detect therapeutic effects of corticosteroids in reducing inflammatory processes in skeletal muscles of boys with DMD. Our work highlights the potential of MRI/MRS as a biomarker in evaluating therapeutic interventions in DMD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology