Spatial patterns of elevated magnetic susceptibility in progressive apraxia of speech

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Purpose: Progressive apraxia of speech (PAOS) is a neurodegenerative disorder affecting the planning or programming of speech. Little is known about its magnetic susceptibility profiles indicative of biological processes such as iron deposition and demyelination. This study aims to clarify (1) the pattern of susceptibility in PAOS patients, (2) the susceptibility differences between the phonetic (characterized by predominance of distorted sound substitutions and additions) and prosodic (characterized by predominance of slow speech rate and segmentation) subtypes of PAOS, and (3) the relationships between susceptibility and symptom severity. Methods: Twenty patients with PAOS (nine phonetic and eleven prosodic subtypes) were prospectively recruited and underwent a 3 Tesla MRI scan. They also underwent detailed speech, language, and neurological evaluations. Quantitative susceptibility maps (QSM) were reconstructed from multi-echo gradient echo MRI images. Region of interest analysis was conducted to estimate susceptibility coefficients in several subcortical and frontal regions. We compared susceptibility values between PAOS and an age-matched control group and performed a correlation analysis between susceptibilities and an apraxia of speech rating scale (ASRS) phonetic and prosodic feature ratings. Results: The magnetic susceptibility of PAOS was statistically greater than that of controls in subcortical regions (left putamen, left red nucleus, and right dentate nucleus) (p < 0.01, also survived FDR correction) and in the left white-matter precentral gyrus (p < 0.05, but not survived FDR correction). The prosodic patients showed greater susceptibilities than controls in these subcortical and precentral regions. The susceptibility in the left red nucleus and in the left precentral gyrus correlated with the prosodic sub-score of the ASRS. Conclusion: Magnetic susceptibility in PAOS patients was greater than controls mainly in the subcortical regions. While larger samples are needed before QSM is considered ready for clinical differential diagnosis, the present study contributes to our understanding of magnetic susceptibility changes and the pathophysiology of PAOS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103394
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Apraxia of speech
  • Iron
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Progressive apraxia of speech
  • Quantitative susceptibility mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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