Slow vertical saccades in motor neuron disease: Correlation of structure and function

Lea Averbuch-Heller*, Christoph Helmchen, Anja K E Horn, R. John Leigh, Jean A. Büttner-Ennever

*Corresponding author for this work
56 Citations (Scopus)


We studied eye movements and brainstem pathology in 2 patients with slow vertical saccades and autopsy-proven amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In both patients, the main ocular motor finding was supranuclear vertical gaze impairment with slow vertical saccades. The second patient had difficulty opening his eyes on command, with preserved spontaneous eyelid opening. Postmortem examination in both patients demonstrated cell loss in the rostral interstitial nucleus of the medial longitudinal fasciculus (riMLF) and substantia nigra, along with histopathological findings consistent with ALS. The extent of the pathological changes in the riMLF correlated well with the degree of functional impairment as reflected in the slow vertical saccades. We suggest that motor neuron disease with early involvement of vertical saccades represents a distinct clinicopathological entity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of Neurology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)641-648
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 01.10.1998

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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