Triheptanoin improves brain energy metabolism in patients with Huntington disease. Adanyeguh et al, Neurology 2015

Triheptanoin improves brain energy metabolism in patients with Huntington disease

Neurology 2015

  1. Isaac Mawusi Adanyeguh, MS,
  2. Daisy Rinaldi, PhD,
  3. Pierre-Gilles Henry, PhD,
  4. Samantha Caillet, MS,
  5. Romain Valabregue, PhD,
  6. Alexandra Durr, MD, PhD and
  7. Fanny Mochel, MD, PhD

Objective: Based on our previous work in Huntington disease (HD) showing improved energy metabolism in muscle by providing substrates to the Krebs cycle, we wished to obtain a proof-of-concept of the therapeutic benefit of triheptanoin using a functional biomarker of brain energy metabolism validated in HD.

Methods: We performed an open-label study using 31P brain magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to measure the levels of phosphocreatine (PCr) and inorganic phosphate (Pi) before (rest), during (activation), and after (recovery) a visual stimulus. We performed 31P brain MRS in 10 patients at an early stage of HD and 13 controls. Patients with HD were then treated for 1 month with triheptanoin after which they returned for follow-up including 31P brain MRS scan.

Results: At baseline, we confirmed an increase in Pi/PCr ratio during brain activation in controls—reflecting increased adenosine triphosphate synthesis—followed by a return to baseline levels during recovery (p = 0.013). In patients with HD, we validated the existence of an abnormal brain energy profile as previously reported. After 1 month, this profile remained abnormal in patients with HD who did not receive treatment. Conversely, the MRS profile was improved in patients with HD treated with triheptanoin for 1 month with the restoration of an increased Pi/PCr ratio during visual stimulation (p = 0.005).

Conclusion: This study suggests that triheptanoin is able to correct the bioenergetic profile in the brain of patients with HD at an early stage of the disease.