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Front Neurosci


Characterizing the Structural Pattern Predicting Medication Response in Herpes Zoster Patients Using Multivoxel Pattern Analysis.


Zeng P, Huang J, Wu S, Qian C, Chen F, Sun W, Tao W, Liao Y, Zhang J, Yang Z, Zhong S, Zhang Z, Xiao L, Huang B
Front Neurosci. 2019; 13:534.
PMID: 31191228.


Herpes zoster (HZ) can cause a blistering skin rash with severe neuropathic pain. Pharmacotherapy is the most common treatment for HZ patients. However, most patients are usually the elderly or those that are immunocompromised, and thus often suffer from side effects or easily get intractable post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) if medication fails. It is challenging for clinicians to tailor treatment to patients, due to the lack of prognosis information on the neurological pathogenesis that underlies HZ. In the current study, we aimed at characterizing the brain structural pattern of HZ before treatment with medication that could help predict medication responses. High-resolution structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of 14 right-handed HZ patients (aged 61.0 ± 7.0, 8 males) with poor response and 15 (aged 62.6 ± 8.3, 5 males) age- ( = 0.58), gender-matched ( = 0.20) patients responding well, were acquired and analyzed. Multivoxel pattern analysis (MVPA) with a searchlight algorithm and support vector machine (SVM), was applied to identify the spatial pattern of the gray matter (GM) volume, with high predicting accuracy. The predictive regions, with an accuracy higher than 79%, were located within the cerebellum, posterior insular cortex (pIC), middle and orbital frontal lobes (mFC and OFC), anterior and middle cingulum (ACC and MCC), precuneus (PCu) and cuneus. Among these regions, mFC, pIC and MCC displayed significant increases of GM volumes in patients with poor response, compared to those with a good response. The combination of sMRI and MVPA might be a useful tool to explore the neuroanatomical imaging biomarkers of HZ-related pain associated with medication responses.