Journal of Neurology

, Volume 265, Issue 11, pp 2723–2729 | Cite as

Dorsal root ganglia in vivo morphometry and perfusion in female patients with Fabry disease

  • Tim GodelEmail author
  • Anja Köhn
  • Nicole Muschol
  • Moritz Kronlage
  • Daniel Schwarz
  • Jennifer Kollmer
  • Sabine Heiland
  • Martin Bendszus
  • Victor-Felix Mautner
  • Philipp Bäumer
Original Communication



To examine dorsal root ganglia and the proximal nerve segments in female patients with Fabry disease by functional and morphometric magnetic resonance neurography.


In this prospective multicenter study the lumbosacral dorsal root ganglia and proximal sciatic nerve were examined in ten female patients with Fabry disease by a standardized magnetic resonance neurography protocol at 3 T. Volumes of dorsal root ganglia L3–S2, permeability of dorsal root ganglia L5 and S1 and the spinal nerve L5 as well as the cross-sectional area of the proximal sciatic nerve were compared to 16 gender-matched healthy controls.


Dorsal root ganglia were symmetrically enlarged by 54% (L3), 79% (L4), 60% (L5), 94% (S1), and 106% (S2) (p < 0.001). Additionally, permeability of the blood–tissue interface was decreased by 47% (p < 0.001). This finding was most pronounced in the peripheral zone of the dorsal root ganglia, where the cell bodies of the primary sensory neurons are located (p < 0.001). While spinal nerve permeability showed no differences compared to healthy controls, proximal sciatic nerve cross-sectional area was mildly increased by 6% (p < 0.01).


Although heterozygous, Fabry females show severe enlarged dorsal root ganglia with a concomitant dysfunctional perfusion, even in patients with minor disease progression and in patients who are not considered for enzyme replacement therapy yet. Alterations in dorsal root ganglia volume and perfusion might serve as a very early in vivo marker for involvement of the peripheral nervous system in Fabry disease, even in patients with residual enzyme activity.


Magnetic resonance neurography Dorsal root ganglia Neuropathic pain Peripheral neuropathy Fabry disease 



We thank all patients for their valuable cooperation in this study. The authors thank Véronique Schwehr and Merle Brunnée for support in recruitment and examination of healthy volunteers. T.G. is supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the Medical Faculty of the University of Heidelberg. A.K. received travel Grants and speaker honoraria from Shire, Sanofi Genzyme and Amicus. N.M. received travel Grants, research Grants and speaker honoraria from Shire, Sanofi Genzyme and Amicus. M.B. received Grants from the German Research Council (SFB 1158). J.K. received a research Grant and personal fees from Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, and personal fees from Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. S.H. was supported by a Grant from the German Research Council (SFB 1118). V.M. was supported by a Grant from the Märta and Erik Karberg Foundation for Medical Research.


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tim Godel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anja Köhn
    • 2
  • Nicole Muschol
    • 2
  • Moritz Kronlage
    • 1
  • Daniel Schwarz
    • 1
  • Jennifer Kollmer
    • 1
  • Sabine Heiland
    • 1
  • Martin Bendszus
    • 1
  • Victor-Felix Mautner
    • 3
  • Philipp Bäumer
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Neuroradiology, Neurological University ClinicHeidelberg University HospitalHeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsUniversity Medical Center Hamburg-EppendorfHamburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyUniversity Medical Center Hamburg-EppendorfHamburgGermany
  4. 4.Department of RadiologyGerman Cancer Research InstituteHeidelbergGermany

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