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J Neuroimaging. 1997 Oct;7(4):208-12.

Degeneration of the pyramidal tracts in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. A premortem and postmortem magnetic resonance imaging study.

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Department of Neurology, Osaka University Medical School, Japan.


To investigate focal hyperintensity in the internal capsule (IC) on magnetic resonance images (MRIs) and its clinical significance, 80 patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and 80 sex- and age-matched normal control subjects were studied. On T2-weighted images, hyperintense foci were found in the posterior part of the posterior limb (PL) of the IC in 41 (51%) of 80 control subjects. However, no subject showed increased signal intensities on proton density-weighted images. Hyperintense foci were also observed in the posterior part of the PL of the IC on T2-weighted images in 52 (65%) of 80 ALS patients and on proton density-weighted images in 26 (65%) of 40 ALS patients; the abnormally intense foci were seen at the same anatomical location in the IC as those in the normal control subjects. On postmortem MRI, the abnormally intense foci were found in the posterior part of the PL of the IC in the formalin-fixed brains from 9 ALS patients. Three normal control subjects did not show signal intensity changes on postmortem MRI. On histological examination of 9 ALS brains, distinct myelin pallor and gliosis were found in the posterior third of the PL of the IC. Proton density-weighted images appear to be useful to distinguish neuropathological changes in the corticospinal tract of ALS patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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