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Abstract #2319

Glutamate-sensitive CEST and MEMRI as novel biomarkers for studying ALS pathophysiology

Amit Kumar Srivastava1,2, Jiadi Xu3, Peter C.M. van Zijl2,3, Nicholas J Maragakis4, and Jeff W.M. Bulte1,2,3

1Cellular Imaging Section, Institute for Cell Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States, 2Russel H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States, 3F.M. Kirby Research Center for Functional Brain Imaging, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, MD, United States, 4Neurology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is characterized by selective loss of motor neurons. ALS treatment is very difficult because disease manifestation and diagnosis often happen much later than when ALS pathology occurs in the patient. In this study, we developed two non-invasive MRI biomarkers for the early detection of disease pathology and its progression thereafter. A newly developed Glutamate-sensitive CEST showed higher signal intensity in the spinal cord level of ALS at pre-symptomatic stage, an indicator of initiation of ALS pathology. Manganese-enhanced MRI showed higher T1-weighted signal in the ALS spinal cord at post-symptomatic stage suggesting activation of astrocytes.

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