Widespread sensorimotor and frontal cortical atrophy in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
ABSTRACT Widespread cortical atrophy in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) has been described in neuropathological studies. The presence of cortical atrophy in conventional and scientific neuroimaging has been a matter of debate. In studies using computertomography, positron emission tomography, proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy and conventional T2-weighted and proton-weighted images, results have been variable. Recent morphometric studies by magnetic resonance imaging have produced conflicting results regarding the extent of grey and white matter involvement in ALS patients.
The authors used optimized voxel-based morphometry as an unbiased whole brain approach to detect differences between regional grey and white matter volumes. Seventeen patients with a diagnosis of ALS according to El-Escorial criteria and seventeen age-matched controls received a high resolution anatomical T1 scan.
In ALS patients regional grey matter volume (GMV) reductions were found in the pre- and postcentral gyrus bilaterally which extended to premotor, parietal and frontal regions bilaterally compared with controls (p < 0.05, corrected for the entire volume). The revised ALS functional rating scale showed a positive correlation with GMV reduction of the right medial frontal gyrus corresponding to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. No significant differences were found for white matter volumes or when grey and white matter density images were investigated. There were no further correlations with clinical variables found.
In ALS patients, primary sensorimotor cortex atrophy can be regarded as a prominent feature of the disease. Supporting the concept of ALS being a multisystem disorder, our study provides further evidence for extramotor involvement which is widespread. The lack of correlation with common clinical variables probably reflects the fact that heterogeneous disease processes underlie ALS. The discrepancy within all published morphometric studies in ALS so far may be related to differences in patient cohorts and several methodological factors of the data analysis process. Longitudinal studies are required to further clarify the time course and distribution of grey and white matter pathology during the course of ALS.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Thomas Peschel, May 29, 2015
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ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is characterized by progressive degeneration of upper and lower motor neurons, with variable involvement of extramotor brain regions. Currently, there are no established objective markers of upper motor neuron and extramotor involvement in ALS. Here, we review the potential diagnostic value of advanced neuroimaging techniques that are increasingly being used to study the brain in ALS. First, we discuss the role of different imaging modalities in our increasing understanding of ALS pathogenesis, and their potential to contribute to objective upper motor neuron biomarkers for the disease. Second, we discuss the challenges to be overcome and the required phases of diagnostic test development to translate imaging technology to clinical care. We also present examples of multidimensional imaging approaches to achieve high levels of diagnostic accuracy. Last, we address the role of neuroimaging in clinical therapeutic trials. Advanced neuroimaging techniques will continue to develop and offer significant opportunities to facilitate the development of new effective treatments for ALS.Journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics 03/2015; 12(2). DOI:10.1007/s13311-015-0347-9 · 3.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) seem to share some clinical and pathological features. MRI studies revealed the presence of grey matter (GM) atrophy in both diseases, but no comparative data are available. The objective was to compare the regional patterns of GM tissue loss in PPMS and ALS with voxel-based morphometry (VBM). Eighteen PPMS patients, 20 ALS patients, and 31 healthy controls (HC) were studied with a 1.5 Tesla scanner. VBM was performed to assess volumetric GM differences with age and sex as covariates. Threshold-free cluster enhancement analysis was used to obtain significant clusters. Group comparisons were tested with family-wise error correction for multiple comparisons (p < 0.05) except for HC versus MND which was tested at a level of p < 0.001 uncorrected and a cluster threshold of 20 contiguous voxels. Compared to HC, ALS patients showed GM tissue reduction in selected frontal and temporal areas, while PPMS patients showed a widespread bilateral GM volume decrease, involving both deep and cortical regions. Compared to ALS, PPMS patients showed tissue volume reductions in both deep and cortical GM areas. This preliminary study confirms that PPMS is characterized by a more diffuse cortical and subcortical GM atrophy than ALS and that, in the latter condition, brain damage is present outside the motor system. These results suggest that PPMS and ALS may share pathological features leading to GM tissue loss.Neurological Sciences 09/2014; 36(3). DOI:10.1007/s10072-014-1954-7 · 1.50 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Thirty per cent of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients have non-motor symptoms, including executive and memory deficits. The in vivo anatomical basis of memory deficits in ALS has not been elucidated. In this observational study, brain atrophy in relation to memory function was investigated in ALS patients and controls. Twenty-six ALS patients without dementia and 21 healthy volunteers matched for gender, age and education level underwent comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation and T1- and T2-weighted 3 T magnetic resonance imaging scanning of the brain. Grey and white matter brain volumes were analysed using voxel-based morphometry and age related white matter changes were assessed. The most frequently abnormal memory test (<2 SD below normative data corrected for age, gender and education) was correlated with regional brain volume variations by multiple regression analyses with age, gender and total grey matter volumes as covariates. Immediate and delayed story recall scores were abnormal in 23% of ALS patients and correlated to bilateral hippocampus grey matter volume (r = 0.52 for both memory tests; P < 0.05; corrected for age, gender and total grey matter volume). This correlation was not found in healthy controls with similar age, education, anxiety and depression levels and white matter changes. Prose memory impairment is a frequent finding in this cohort and is associated with hippocampus volume in ALS patients without dementia. These findings complement previous hippocampus changes in imaging studies in ALS and suggest involvement of the hippocampus in cognitive dysfunction of ALS. © 2014 EAN.European Journal of Neurology 12/2014; 22(3). DOI:10.1111/ene.12615 · 3.85 Impact Factor