While the hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is corticospinal tract in combination with lower motor neuron degeneration, the clinical involvement of both compartments is characteristically variable and the site of onset debated. We sought to establish whether there is a consistent signature of cerebral white matter abnormalities in heterogeneous ALS cases.
In this observational study, diffusion tensor imaging was applied in a whole-brain analysis of 24 heterogeneous patients with ALS and well-matched healthy controls. Tract-based spatial statistics were used, with optimized voxel-based morphometry of T1 images to determine any associated gray matter involvement.
A consistent reduction in fractional anisotropy was demonstrated in the corpus callosum of the ALS group, extending rostrally and bilaterally to the region of the primary motor cortices, independent of the degree of clinical upper motor neuron involvement. Matched regional radial diffusivity increase supported the concept of anterograde degeneration of callosal fibers observed pathologically. Gray matter reductions were observed bilaterally in primary motor and supplementary motor regions, and also in the anterior cingulate and temporal lobe regions. A post hoc group comparison model incorporating significant values for fractional anisotropy, radial diffusivity, and gray matter was 92% sensitive, 88% specific, with an accuracy of 90%.
Callosal involvement is a consistent feature of ALS, independent of clinical upper motor neuron involvement, and may reflect independent bilateral cortical involvement or interhemispheric spread of pathology. The predominantly rostral corticospinal tract involvement further supports the concept of independent cortical degeneration even in those patients with ALS with predominantly lower motor neuron involvement clinically.
= amyotrophic lateral sclerosis;
= revised Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Functional Rating Scale;
= corpus callosum;
= corticospinal tract;
= disease duration;
= diffusion tensor imaging;
= fractional anisotropy;
= frontotemporal dementia;
= gray matter;
= lower motor neuron;
= mean diffusivity;
= primary lateral sclerosis;
= progressive muscular atrophy;
= radial diffusivity;
= upper motor neuron;
= white matter.
Evaluating the integrity of white matter tracts with diffusion tensor imaging may differentiate primary lateral sclerosis from progressive supranuclear palsy.
Thirty-three prospectively recruited subjects had standardized evaluations and diffusion tensor imaging: 3 with primary lateral sclerosis who presented with features suggestive of progressive supranuclear palsy, 10 with probable or definite progressive supranuclear palsy, and 20 matched controls. We compared fractional anisotropy of the corticospinal tract, superior cerebellar peduncle and body of the corpus callosum between groups.
Both the primary lateral sclerosis and progressive supranuclear palsy subjects showed reduced fractional anisotropy in superior cerebellar peduncles and body of the corpus callosum compared to controls, but only primary lateral sclerosis subjects showed reductions in the corticospinal tracts. A ratio of corticospinal tract/superior cerebellar peduncle best distinguished the disorders (p<0.02).
The corticospinal tract/superior cerebellar peduncle ratio is a marker to differentiate primary lateral sclerosis from progressive supranuclear palsy.
Progressive supranuclear palsy; primary lateral sclerosis; motor neuron disease; diffusion tensor imaging
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder, caused by progressive loss of motor neurons. Changes are widespread in the subcortical white matter in ALS. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) detects pathological changes in white matter fibres in vivo, based on alterations in the degree (diffusivity, ADC) and directedness (fractional anisotropy, FA) of proton movement.
24 patients with ALS and 24 age-matched controls received 1.5T DTI. FA and ADC were analyzed using statistical parametric mapping. In 15 of the 24 ALS patients, a second DTI was obtained after 6 months.
Decreased FA in the corticospinal tract (CST) and frontal areas confirm existing results. With a direct comparison of baseline and follow-up dataset, the progression of upper motor neuron degeneration, reflected in FA decrease, could be captured along the CST and in frontal areas. The involvement of cerebellum in the pathology of ALS, as suspected from functional MRI studies, could be confirmed by a reduced FA (culmen, declive). These structural changes correlated well with disease duration, ALSFRS-R, and physical and executive functions.
DTI detects changes that are regarded as prominent features of ALS and thus, shows promise in its function as a biomarker. Using the technique herein, we could demonstrate DTI changes at follow-up which correlated well with clinical progression.
Cerebellum; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Diffusion tensor imaging; Follow-up
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease characterised by motor neuron degeneration. How this disease affects the central motor network is largely unknown. Here, we combined for the first time structural and functional imaging measures on the motor network in patients with ALS and healthy controls.
Structural measures included whole brain cortical thickness and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of crucial motor tracts. These structural measures were combined with functional connectivity analysis of the motor network based on resting state fMRI. Focal cortical thinning was observed in the primary motor area in patients with ALS compared to controls and was found to correlate with disease progression. DTI revealed reduced FA values in the corpus callosum and in the rostral part of the corticospinal tract. Overall functional organisation of the motor network was unchanged in patients with ALS compared to healthy controls, however the level of functional connectedness was significantly correlated with disease progression rate. Patients with increased connectedness appear to have a more progressive disease course.
We demonstrate structural motor network deterioration in ALS with preserved functional connectivity measures. The positive correlation between functional connectedness of the motor network and disease progression rate could suggest spread of disease along functional connections of the motor network.
The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that magnetization transfer ratios (MTR) are decreased in the corticospinal tract of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); to determine if T2 is increased in corticospinal tract or reduced in motor cortex in ALS; to determine if corticospinal tract MTR correlates with a clinical measure of motor neuron function in ALS. Ten ALS patients and 17 age-matched controls were studied. Double spin echo MRI and 3D gradient echo MRI with and without off-resonance saturation were acquired on each subject. 3D data sets were coregistered and resliced to match the spin echo data set. MTR was calculated for corticospinal and non-corticospinal tract white matter. T2 was calculated for corticospinal and non-corticospinal tract white matter, motor cortex and non-motor cortex. MTR was reduced by 2.6% (p < .02) in corticospinal, but not in non-corticospinal, tract white matter in ALS. There was no difference in T2 in any brain region. The correlation between a clinical measure of motor neuron function and corticospinal tract MTR was statistically significant. These findings are consistent with the known pathology in ALS and suggest that MTR is more sensitive than T2 for detecting involvement of the corticospinal tract. Quantitative MTR of the corticospinal tract may be a useful, objective marker of upper motor neuron pathology in ALS.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Magnetization transfer ratio; T2 relaxation; Corticospinal tract; Motor cortex
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease of motor neurons with a median survival of 2 years. Most patients have no family history of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but current understanding of such diseases suggests there should be an increased risk to relatives. Furthermore, it is a common question to be asked by patients and relatives in clinic. We therefore set out to determine the risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis to first degree relatives of patients with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis attending a specialist clinic. Case records of patients with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis seen at a tertiary referral centre over a 16-year period were reviewed, and pedigree structures extracted. All individuals who had originally presented with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but who subsequently had an affected first degree relative, were identified. Calculations were age-adjusted using clinic population demographics. Probands (n = 1502), full siblings (n = 1622) and full offspring (n = 1545) were identified. Eight of the siblings and 18 offspring had developed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The unadjusted risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis over the observation period was 0.5% for siblings and 1.0% for offspring. Age information was available for 476 siblings and 824 offspring. For this subset, the crude incidence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis was 0.11% per year (0.05–0.21%) in siblings and 0.11% per year (0.06–0.19%) in offspring, and the clinic age-adjusted incidence rate was 0.12% per year (0.04–0.21%) in siblings. By age 85, siblings were found to have an 8-fold increased risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in comparison to the background population. In practice, this means the risk of remaining unaffected by age 85 dropped from 99.7% to 97.6%. Relatives of people with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis have a small but definite increased risk of being affected.
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; sporadic case; family history; risk to relatives
Changes in the distribution of the proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) observed metabolites N-acetyl aspartate (NAA), total-choline (Cho), and total-creatine (Cre) in the entire intracranial corticospinal tract (CST) including the primary motor cortex were evaluated in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The study included 38 sporadic definite-ALS subjects and 70 age-matched control subjects. All received whole-brain MR imaging and spectroscopic imaging scans at 3T and clinical neurological assessments including percentage maximum forced vital capacity (FVC) and upper motor neuron (UMN) function. Differences in each individual metabolite and its ratio distributions were evaluated in the entire intracranial CST and in five segments along the length of the CST (at the levels of precentral gyrus (PCG), centrum semiovale (CS), corona radiata (CR), posterior limb of internal capsule (PLIC) and cerebral peduncle (CP)). Major findings included significantly decreased NAA and increased Cho and Cho/NAA in the entire intracranial CST, with the largest differences for Cho/NAA in all the groups. Significant correlations between Cho/NAA in the entire intracranial CST and the right finger tap rate were noted. Of the ten bilateral CST segments, significantly decreased NAA in 4 segments, increased Cho in 5 segments and increased Cho/NAA in all the segments were found. Significant left versus right CST asymmetries were found only in ALS for Cho/NAA in the CS. Among the significant correlations found between Cho/NAA and the clinical assessments included the left-PCG versus FVC and right finger tap rate, left -CR versus FVC and right finger tap rate, and left PLIC versus FVC and right foot tap rate. These results demonstrate that a significant and bilaterally asymmetric alteration of metabolites occurs along the length of the entire intracranial CST in ALS, and the MRS metrics in the segments correlate with measures of disease severity and UMN function.
Schizophrenia is a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with abnormalities of brain structure and white matter, although little is known about when these abnormalities arise. This study was conducted to identify structural brain abnormalities in the prenatal and neonatal periods associated with genetic risk for schizophrenia.
Prenatal ultrasound scans and neonatal structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging were prospectively obtained in the offspring of mothers with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder (N=26) and matched comparison mothers without psychiatric illness (N=26). Comparisons were made for prenatal lateral ventricle width and head circumference, for neonatal intracranial, CSF, gray matter, white matter, and lateral ventricle volumes, and for neonatal diffusion properties of the genu and splenium of the corpus callosum and corticospinal tracts.
Relative to the matched comparison subjects, the offspring of mothers with schizophrenia did not differ in prenatal lateral ventricle width or head circumference. Overall, the high-risk neonates had nonsignificantly larger intracranial, CSF, and lateral ventricle volumes. Subgroup analysis revealed that male high-risk infants had significantly larger intracranial, CSF, total gray matter, and lateral ventricle volumes; the female high-risk neonates were similar to the female comparison subjects. There were no group differences in white matter diffusion tensor properties.
Male neonates at genetic risk for schizophrenia had several larger than normal brain volumes, while females did not. To the authors' knowledge, this study provides the first evidence, in the context of its limitations, that early neonatal brain development may be abnormal in males at genetic risk for schizophrenia.
The aim of this study was to investigate the extent of cortical and subcortical lesions in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) using, in combination, voxel based diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and voxel based morphometry (VBM). We included 15 patients with definite or probable ALS and 25 healthy volunteers. Patients were assessed using the revised ALS Functional Rating Scale (ALSFRS‐R). In patients, reduced fractional anisotropy was found in bilateral corticospinal tracts, the left insula/ventrolateral premotor cortex, the right parietal cortex and the thalamus, which correlated with the ALSFRS‐R. Increased mean diffusivity (MD) was found bilaterally in the motor cortex, the ventrolateral premotor cortex/insula, the hippocampal formations and the right superior temporal gyrus, which did not correlate with the ALSFRS‐R. VBM analysis showed no changes in white matter but widespread volume decreases in grey matter in several regions exhibiting MD abnormalities. In ALS patients, our results show that subcortical lesions extend beyond the corticospinal tract and are clinically relevant.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients with predominant upper motor neuron (UMN) signs occasionally have hyperintensity of corticospinal tract (CST) on T2- and proton-density-(PD-) weighted brain images. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was used to assess whether diffusion parameters along intracranial CST differ in presence or absence of hyperintensity and correspond to UMN dysfunction.
DTI brain scans were acquired in 47 UMN-predominant ALS patients with (n = 21) or without (n = 26) CST hyperintensity and in 10 control subjects. Fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD), and radial diffusivity (RD) were measured in four regions of interests (ROIs) along CST. Abnormalities (P < 0.05) were observed in FA, AD, or RD in CST primarily at internal capsule (IC) level in ALS patients, especially those with CST hyperintensity. Clinical measures corresponded well with DTI changes at IC level. The IC abnormalities suggest a prominent axonopathy in UMN-predominant ALS and that tissue changes underlying CST hyperintensity have specific DTI changes, suggestive of unique axonal pathology.
The homogeneous genotype and stereotyped phenotype of a unique familial form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (patients homozygous for aspartate-to-alanine mutations in codon 90 (homD90A) superoxide dismutase 1) provides an ideal model for studying genotype/phenotype interactions and pathological features compared with heterogeneous apparently sporadic ALS. The authors aimed to use diffusion tensor tractography to quantify and compare changes in the intracerebral corticospinal tracts of patients with both forms of ALS, building on previous work using whole-brain voxelwise group analysis.
21 sporadic ALS patients, seven homD90A patients and 20 healthy controls underwent 1.5 T diffusion tensor MRI. Patients were assessed using ‘upper motor neuron burden,’ El Escorial and ALSFR-R scales. The intracranial corticospinal tract was assessed using diffusion tensor tractography measures of fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity, and radial and axial diffusivity obtained from its entire length.
Corticospinal tract FA was reduced in sporadic ALS patients compared with both homD90A ALS patients and controls. The diffusion measures in sporadic ALS patients were consistent with anterograde (Wallerian) degeneration of the corticospinal tracts. In sporadic ALS, corticospinal tract FA was related to clinical measures. Despite a similar degree of clinical upper motor neuron dysfunction and disability in homD90A ALS patients compared with sporadic ALS, there were no abnormalities in corticospinal tract diffusion measures compared with controls.
Diffusion tensor tractography has shown axonal degeneration within the intracerebral portion of the corticospinal tract in sporadic ALS patients, but not those with a homogeneous form of familial ALS. This suggests significant genotypic influences on the phenotype of ALS and may provide clues to slower progression of disease in homD90A patients.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; diffusion tensor tractography; corticospinal tract; fractional anisotropy; mean diffusivityALSimage analysisMRI
Primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) is a progressive degenerative disorder affecting upper motor neurons and requires a clinical diagnosis. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a quantitative method for assessing white matter fibre integrity. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the involvement of upper motor neurons by using DTI in PLS.
A patient with PLS was compared with eight age-matched controls. Differences in fractional anisotropy (FA) index were assessed using DTI on a voxel-by-voxel basis.
Decreased FA was observed in the proximal part of the pyramidal tract bilaterally, which indicated degeneration of the pyramidal cells.
Voxel-based DTI could be used as an objective marker for detecting upper motor neuron degeneration in PLS.
Executive dysfunction occurs in many patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), but it has not been well studied in primary lateral sclerosis (PLS). The aims of this study were to (1) compare cognitive function in PLS to that in ALS patients, (2) explore the relationship between performance on specific cognitive tests and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) metrics of white matter tracts and gray matter volumes, and (3) compare DTI metrics in patients with and without cognitive and behavioral changes.
The Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS), the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale (DRS-2), and other behavior and mood scales were administered to 25 ALS patients and 25 PLS patients. Seventeen of the PLS patients, 13 of the ALS patients, and 17 healthy controls underwent structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and DTI. Atlas-based analysis using MRI Studio software was used to measure fractional anisotropy, and axial and radial diffusivity of selected white matter tracts. Voxel-based morphometry was used to assess gray matter volumes. The relationship between diffusion properties of selected association and commissural white matter and performance on executive function and memory tests was explored using a linear regression model.
More ALS than PLS patients had abnormal scores on the DRS-2. DRS-2 and D-KEFS scores were related to DTI metrics in several long association tracts and the callosum. Reduced gray matter volumes in motor and perirolandic areas were not associated with cognitive scores.
The changes in diffusion metrics of white matter long association tracts suggest that the loss of integrity of the networks connecting fronto-temporal areas to parietal and occipital areas contributes to cognitive impairment.
Motor neuron disease; Executive function; Diffusion tensor imaging
OBJECTIVE: To investigate MRI abnormalities in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. METHODS: Fourteen patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis underwent MRI of the head and spinal cord using T1 and T2 weighted images. Forty age matched controls (29 with other neurological diseases, 11 with non-neurological diseases) underwent MRI of the cervical spinal cord using T1 and T2 weighted images. RESULTS: In all the control patients, the signal intensity of the posterior column was equal or slightly hypointense compared with the anterolateral column of the cervical spinal cord on T1 weighted images. However, eight of 14 patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis showed pronounced high signal intensity in the anterolateral column of the spinal cord on T1 weighted MRI, which also disclosed high signal intensity of the intracranial corticospinal tract in two of the 14 patients. T2 weighted MRI demonstrated high signal intensity of the lateral corticospinal tract of the spinal cord in two, high signal intensity of the intracranial corticospinal tract in five, and low signal intensity of the motor cortex in six of the 14 patients. Two of the 14 patients showed no abnormal findings on MRI. CONCLUSIONS: High signal intensity of the anterolateral column of the spinal cord of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a new imaging abnormality and may be useful for the diagnosis of this disease.
Background: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a slowly progressive fetal neurodegenerative disease in which clinical phenotype and nutritional status are considered prognostic factors. Advanced age has also been reported to carry a poor prognosis in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The elderly population is expected to increase in Japan, as well as in other countries in the near future. Whether late-onset amyotrophic lateral sclerosis affects the average lifespan or survival of patients and the nutritional status was related to survival remains an open question. Methods: We studied the survival of elderly 34 patients with clinically definite amyotrophic lateral sclerosis aged ≥ 70 years and investigated serum triglycerides, cholesterol, LDL/HDL ratio, and glucose. Serum uric acid was examined. Results: The average age at respiratory disorders or death as a whole was 77.5 ± 4.3 years. Survival did not differ significantly between different clinical phenotypes or between patients with and those without riluzole usage. Survival differed significantly between patients with and those without other complications. No biochemical parameter is correlated with outcome in this series, including elevated triglyceride or cholesterol levels and an increased LDL/HDL ratio. The survival correlated with the serum uric acid level (r = 0.407, p = 0.017). Conclusions: The onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at ≥ 70 years of age might not be the key determinant of survival in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; elderly amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; survival; nutritional status; uric acid
OBJECTIVE—To study the
diagnostic usefulness of transcallosal inhibition (TI) elicited by
transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in detecting central conduction
deficits in early multiple sclerosis. Corticospinally mediated
excitatory responses evoked by TMS are accepted as a sensitive
diagnostic tool in multiple sclerosis. Recently, TI evoked by TMS has
been introduced as a new paradigm to test the function of callosal
fibres interconnecting both hand associated motor cortices.
METHODS—Focal TMS of
the motor cortex was performed in 50 patients with early
relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Corticospinally mediated
(central motor latencies, amplitudes) and transcallosally mediated
(onset latency and duration of TI) stimulation effects were investigated.
abnormalities of corticospinally mediated responses in 62% and of TI
in 80% of the patients.
assessment of TI allows the discovery of lesions within the
periventricular white matter that were not accessible by
neurophysiological techniques before. This new paradigm increases the
sensitivity of TMS with which to detect central conduction deficits in
early multiple sclerosis.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a rapidly progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disorder for which there is no effective treatment. The diagnosis is dependent on the clinical presentation and consistent electrodiagnostic studies. Typically, there is a combination of upper and lower motor neuron signs as well as electrodiagnostic studies indicative of diffuse motor axonal injury. The presentation of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, however, may be variable. At the same time, the diagnosis is essential for patient prognosis and management. It is therefore important to appreciate the range of possible presentations of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
We present the case of a 57-year-old Caucasian man with pathological findings on postmortem examination consistent with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis but atypical clinical and electrodiagnostic features. He died after a rapid course of progressive weakness. The patient did not respond to immunosuppressive therapy.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis should be considered in patients with a rapidly progressive, unexplained neuropathic process. This should be true even if there are atypical clinical and electrodiagnostic findings. Absence of response to therapy and the development of upper motor neuron signs should reinforce the possibility that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis may be present. Since amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a fatal illness, however, the possibility of this disease in patients with atypical clinical features should not diminish the need for a thorough diagnostic evaluation and treatment trials.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease characterised by progressive muscular paralysis reflecting degeneration of motor neurones in the primary motor cortex, corticospinal tracts, brainstem and spinal cord. Incidence (average 1.89 per 100,000/year) and prevalence (average 5.2 per100,000) are relatively uniform in Western countries, although foci of higher frequency occur in the Western Pacific. The mean age of onset for sporadic ALS is about 60 years. Overall, there is a slight male prevalence (M:F ratio~1.5:1). Approximately two thirds of patients with typical ALS have a spinal form of the disease (limb onset) and present with symptoms related to focal muscle weakness and wasting, where the symptoms may start either distally or proximally in the upper and lower limbs. Gradually, spasticity may develop in the weakened atrophic limbs, affecting manual dexterity and gait. Patients with bulbar onset ALS usually present with dysarthria and dysphagia for solid or liquids, and limbs symptoms can develop almost simultaneously with bulbar symptoms, and in the vast majority of cases will occur within 1–2 years. Paralysis is progressive and leads to death due to respiratory failure within 2–3 years for bulbar onset cases and 3–5 years for limb onset ALS cases. Most ALS cases are sporadic but 5–10% of cases are familial, and of these 20% have a mutation of the SOD1 gene and about 2–5% have mutations of the TARDBP (TDP-43) gene. Two percent of apparently sporadic patients have SOD1 mutations, and TARDBP mutations also occur in sporadic cases. The diagnosis is based on clinical history, examination, electromyography, and exclusion of 'ALS-mimics' (e.g. cervical spondylotic myelopathies, multifocal motor neuropathy, Kennedy's disease) by appropriate investigations. The pathological hallmarks comprise loss of motor neurones with intraneuronal ubiquitin-immunoreactive inclusions in upper motor neurones and TDP-43 immunoreactive inclusions in degenerating lower motor neurones. Signs of upper motor neurone and lower motor neurone damage not explained by any other disease process are suggestive of ALS. The management of ALS is supportive, palliative, and multidisciplinary. Non-invasive ventilation prolongs survival and improves quality of life. Riluzole is the only drug that has been shown to extend survival.
The Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the most common form of motor neuron disease in the adulthood, and it is characterized by rapid and progressive compromise of the upper and lower motor neurons. The majority of the cases of ALS are classified as sporadic and, until now, a specific cause for these cases still is unknown. To present the different hypotheses on the etiology of ALS. It was carried out a search in the databases: Bireme, Scielo and Pubmed, in the period of 1987 to 2011, using the following keywords: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, motor neuron disease, etiology, causes and epidemiology and its similar in Portuguese and Spanish. It did not have consensus as regards the etiology of ALS. Researches demonstrates evidences as regards intoxication by heavy metals, environmental and occupational causes, genetic mutations (superoxide dismutase 1), certain viral infections and the accomplishment of vigorous physical activity for the development of the disease. There is still no consensus regarding the involved factors in the etiology of ALS. In this way, new research about these etiologies are necessary, for a better approach of the patients, promoting preventive programs for the disease and improving the quality of life of the patients.
motor neuron disease; neuromuscular Diseases; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; etiology; hypothesis; review.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease with severe cervical cord damage due to degeneration of the corticospinal tracts and loss of lower motor neurones. Diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DT MRI) allows the measurement of quantities reflecting the size (such as mean diffusivity) and orientation (such as fractional anisotropy) of water‐filled spaces in biological tissues.
Mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy histograms from the cervical cord of patients with ALS were obtained to: (1) quantify the extent of tissue damage in this critical central nervous system region; and (2) investigate the magnitude of the correlation of cervical cord DT MRI metrics with patients' disability and tissue damage along the brain portion of the corticospinal tracts. Cervical cord and brain DT MRI scans were obtained from 28 patients with ALS and 20 age‐matched and sex‐matched controls. Cord mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy histograms were produced and the cord cross‐sectional area was measured. Average mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy along the brain portion of the corticospinal tracts were also measured.
Compared with controls, patients with ALS had significantly lower mean fractional anisotropy (p = 0.002) and cord cross‐sectional area (p<0.001). Mean diffusivity histogram‐derived metrics did not differ between the two groups. A strong correlation was found between mean cord fractional anisotropy and the ALS Functional Rating Score (r = 0.74, p<0.001). Mean cord and brain fractional anisotropy values correlated moderately (r = 0.37, p = 0.05).
Cervical cord DT MRI in patients with ALS allows the extent of cord damage to be graded. The conventional and DT MRI changes found are compatible with the presence of neuroaxonal loss and reactive gliosis, with a heterogeneous distribution of the pathological process between the brain and the cord. The correlation found between cord fractional anisotropy and disability suggests that DT MRI may be a useful adjunctive tool to monitor the evolution of ALS.
Normal-appearing white matter has been shown via diffusion tensor imaging to be affected in tuberous sclerosis complex. Under the hypothesis that some systems might be differentially affected, including the visual pathways and systems of social cognition, diffusion properties of various regions of white matter were compared. For 10 patients and 6 age-matched control subjects, 3 T magnetic resonance imaging was assessed using diffusion tensor imaging obtained in 35 directions. Three-dimensional volumes corresponding to the geniculocalcarine tracts were extracted via tractography, and two-dimensional regions of interest were used to sample other regions. Regression analysis indicated lower fractional anisotropy in the splenium of corpus callosum and geniculocalcarine tracts in tuberous sclerosis complex group, as well as lower axial diffusivity in the internal capsule, superior temporal gyrus, and geniculocalcarine tracts. Mean and radial diffusivity of the splenium of corpus callosum were higher in the tuberous sclerosis complex group. The differences in diffusion properties of white matter between tuberous sclerosis complex patients and control subjects suggest disorganized and structurally compromised axons with poor myelination. The visual and social cognition systems appear to be differentially involved, which might in part explain the behavioral and cognitive characteristics of the tuberous sclerosis complex population.
Acquired neuromyotonia encompasses a group of inflammatory disorders characterized by symptoms reflecting peripheral nerve hyperexcitability, which may be clinically confused in the early stages with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Despite a clear peripheral nerve focus, it remains unclear whether the ectopic activity in acquired neuromyotonia receives a central contribution. To clarify whether cortical hyperexcitability contributes to development of clinical features of acquired neuromyotonia, the present study investigated whether threshold tracking transcranial magnetic stimulation could detect cortical hyperexcitability in acquired neuromyotonia, and whether this technique could differentiate acquired neuromyotonia from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Cortical excitability studies were undertaken in 18 patients with acquired neuromyotonia and 104 patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, with results compared to 62 normal controls. Short-interval intracortical inhibition in patients with acquired neuromyotonia was significantly different when compared to patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (averaged short interval intracortical inhibition acquired neuromyotonia 11.3 ± 1.9%; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 2.6 ± 0.9%, P < 0.001). In addition, the motor evoked potential amplitudes (acquired neuromyotonia 21.0 ± 3.1%; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 38.1 ± 2.2%, P < 0.0001), intracortical facilitation (acquired neuromyotonia −0.9 ± 1.3%; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis −2.3 ± 0.6%, P < 0.0001), resting motor thresholds (acquired neuromyotonia 62.2 ± 1.6%; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 57.2 ± 0.9%, P < 0.05) and cortical silent period durations (acquired neuromyotonia 212.8 ± 6.9 ms; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 181.1 ± 4.3 ms, P < 0.0001) were significantly different between patients with acquired neuromyotonia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Threshold tracking transcranial magnetic stimulation established corticomotoneuronal integrity in acquired neuromyotonia, arguing against a contribution of central processes to the development of nerve hyperexcitability in acquired neuromyotonia.
acquired neuromyotonia; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; cortical excitability
Reduced DNA repair capacity may play a role in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) etiology. We examined the association between ALS risk and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the gene x-ray repair complementing defective repair in Chinese hamster cells 1 (XRCC1) utilizing data from a case-control study and two genome-wide association studies (the Study of Irish Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and the NINDS genome-wide study in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Neurologically Normal Controls). Our results did not show any differences in the frequency of XRCC1 gene polymorphisms between ALS patients and controls free of any neurological disease.
Abnormal capacity to repair DNA damage may play a role in the pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (Bradley and Krasin, 1982). Neurons, especially motor neurons, are sensitive to DNA damage induced by reactive oxygen species ROS. Defects in the base-excision repair (BER) pathway, which counteracts the effects of ROS-induced DNA damage, may thus play a role in ALS. We examined the association of ALS risk to polymorphisms in a key gene in the BER pathway, x-ray repair complementing defective repair in Chinese hamster cells 1 (XRCC1).
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; DNA repair; XRCC1
Diffusion tensor imaging plays a key role in our understanding of white matter both in normal populations and in populations with brain disorders. Existing techniques focus primarily on using diffusivity-based quantities derived from diffusion tensor as surrogate measures of microstructural tissue properties of white matter. In this paper, we describe a novel tract-specific framework that enables the examination of white matter morphometry at both the macroscopic and microscopic scales. The framework leverages the skeleton-based modeling of sheet-like white matter fasciculi using the continuous medial representation, which gives a natural definition of thickness and supports its comparison across subjects. The thickness measure provides a macroscopic characterization of white matter fasciculi that complements existing analysis of microstructural features. The utility of the framework is demonstrated in quantifying white matter atrophy in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a severe neurodegenerative disease of motor neurons. We show that, compared to using microscopic features alone, combining the macroscopic and microscopic features gives a more complete characterization of the disease.
White Matter; Tract Specific; Morphometry; Shape Analysis; Diffusion Tensor MRI; Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
The objective was to test three motor system-specific hypotheses in multiple sclerosis patients: (i) corticospinal tract and primary motor cortex imaging measures differ between multiple sclerosis patients and controls; (ii) in patients, these measures correlate with disability; (iii) in patients, corticospinal tract measures correlate with measures of the ipsilateral primary motor cortex.
Eleven multiple sclerosis patients with a history of hemiparesis attributable to a lesion within the contralateral corticospinal tract, and 12 controls were studied. We used two advanced imaging techniques: (i) diffusion-based probabilistic tractography, to obtain connectivity and fractional anisotropy of the corticospinal tract; and (ii) FreeSurfer, to measure volume, thickness, surface area, and curvature of precentral and paracentral cortices. Differences in these measures between patients and controls, and relationships between each other and to clinical scores, were investigated.
Patients showed lower corticospinal tract fractional anisotropy and smaller volume and surface area of the precentral gyrus than controls. In patients, corticospinal tract connectivity and paracentral cortical volume, surface area, and curvature were lower with increasing disability; lower connectivity of the affected corticospinal tract was associated with greater surface area of the ipsilateral paracentral cortex.
Corticospinal tract connectivity and new measures of the primary motor cortex, such as surface area and curvature, reflect the underlying white and grey matter damage that contributes to disability. The correlation between lower connectivity of the affected corticospinal tract and greater surface area of the ipsilateral paracentral cortex suggests the possibility of cortical adaptation. Combining tractography and cortical measures is a useful approach in testing hypotheses which are specific to clinically relevant functional systems in multiple sclerosis, and can be applied to other neurological diseases.
atrophy; MRI; relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis