Background: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is characterized by pronounced clinical heterogeneity in terms of onset and disease progression. Widespread changes in white matter fibres could be observed by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), which detects alterations in the degree (diffusivity, ADC) and directedness (fractional anisotropy, FA) of proton movement. The aim of the current study was to determine whether different ALS onset types were reflected in different DTI brain patterns. Methods: Seventeen patients with a diagnosis of ALS (6 bulbar, 11 limb onset) and seventeen age-matched controls received 1.5T DTI, where FA and ADC were analyzed using statistical parametric mapping. Results: In ALS patients, an increased diffusivity in the white matter was found below the precentral gyrus and along the corticospinal tract (CST) right into the internal capsule. The FA was decreased in the posterior limb of internal capsule and in the subcortical white matter in the precentral gyrus. In bulbar onset increased diffusivity was found in the CST, whilst in limb onset, frontal subcortical areas displayed an increased diffusivity. Conclusion: DTI changes can be regarded as prominent features in ALS. Herein we were able to demonstrate discriminating brain DTI patterns due to bulbar or limb onset.
Research Areas and Centers
- Centers: Center for Neuromuscular Diseases