Microstructure alterations in the hypothalamus in cranially radiated childhood leukaemia survivors but not in craniopharyngioma patients unaffected by hypothalamic damage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: Metabolic complications are frequent in childhood leukaemia (ALL) survivors treated with cranial radiotherapy (CRT). These complications are potentially mediated by damage to the hypothalamus (HT), as childhood onset (CO) craniopharyngioma (CP) survivors without HT involvement are spared overt obesity. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) shows brain tissue microstructure alterations, by fractional anisotrophy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD) and radial diffusivity (RD). We used DTI to determine the integrity of the microstructure of the HT in ALL survivors. Design: Case-control study. Patients: Three groups were included: (i) 27 CRT treated ALL survivors on hormone supplementation, (ii) 17 CO-CP survivors on hormone supplementation but without HT involvement and (iii) 27 matched controls. Measurements: DTI parameters of the HT were measured and body composition. Results: Microstructural alterations in the HT were more severe in ALL survivors with a BMI ≥25 than with BMI <25. Compared to controls, ALL survivors had reduced FA (P=.04), increased MD (P<.001), AD (P<.001) and RD (P<.001) in the right and left HT. In the right HT, ALL survivors with a BMI ≥25 showed elevated MD (P=.03) and AD (P=.02) compared to ALL survivors with BMI <25. In contrast, DTI parameters did not differ between CP survivors and controls. Conclusions: Long-term follow-up after CRT for ALL DTI measures were affected in the HT despite complete hormone replacement. The present data suggest that ALL survivors have demyelination and axonal loss in the HT.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Endocrinology and Diabetes
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging


  • Childhood craniopharyngioma, Childhood leukaemia, Cranial radiotherapy, Diffusion tensor imaging, Hypothalamus
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-366
JournalClinical Endocrinology
Issue number4
Early online date2017 May 19
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch

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