Glucose metabolism in sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease: a statistical parametric mapping analysis of 18F-FDG PET

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Background and purpose:

Reports describing functional neuroimaging techniques, such as positron emission tomography (PET) and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), in sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (sCJD) have consistently suggested that these tools are sensitive for the identification of areas of hypoperfusion or hypometabolism, even in the early stages of sCJD. However, there are few reports on the use of [18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) PET in sCJD, and most of them are single case reports. Only two small cohort studies based on visual inspection or a region of interest method have been published to date. Using a statistical parametric mapping (SPM) analysis of 18F-FDG PET, we investigated whether there are brain regions preferentially affected in sCJD.


After controlling for age and gender, using SPM 2, we compared the glucose metabolism between (i) 11 patients with sCJD and 35 controls and (ii) the subset of five patients with the Heidenhain variant of sCJD and 35 controls.


The patients with sCJD showed decreased glucose metabolism in bilateral parietal, frontal and occipital cortices. The Heidenhain variant of sCJD showed glucose hypometabolism mainly in bilateral occipital areas.


Glucose hypometabolism in sCJD was detected in extensive cortical regions; however, it was not found in the basal ganglia or thalamus, which are frequently reported to be affected on diffusion-weighted images. The medial temporal area, which is possibly resistant to the prion deposits, was also less involved in sCJD.

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