Sisi Shen, Ran Wei, Yu Gao, Xinyuan Yang, Guoning Zhang, Bo Yan, Zhuoling Xiao, Jinmei Li

Cortical atrophy in early-stage patients with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis: a machine-learning MRI study with various feature extraction

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Abstract Conventional brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate-receptor encephalitis (NMDARE) is non-specific, thus showing little differential diagnostic value, especially for MRI-negative patients. To characterize patterns of structural alterations and facilitate the diagnosis of MRI-negative NMDARE patients, we build two support vector machine models (NMDARE versus healthy controls [HC] model and NMDARE versus viral encephalitis [VE] model) based on radiomics features extracted from brain MRI. A total of 109 MRI-negative NMDARE patients in the acute phase, 108 HCs and 84 acute MRI-negative VE cases were included for training. Another 29 NMDARE patients, 28 HCs and 26 VE cases were included for validation. Eighty features discriminated NMDARE patients from HCs, with area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of 0.963 in validation set. NMDARE patients presented with significantly lower thickness, area, and volume and higher mean curvature than HCs. Potential atrophy predominately presented in the frontal lobe (cumulative weight = 4.3725, contribution rate of 29.86%), and temporal lobe (cumulative weight = 2.573, contribution rate of 17.57%). The NMDARE versus VE model achieved certain diagnostic power, with AUC of 0.879 in validation set. Our research shows potential atrophy across the entire cerebral cortex in acute NMDARE patients, and MRI machine learning model has a potential to facilitate the diagnosis MRI-negative NMDARE.

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