Sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis of long duration mimicking spinal progressive muscular atrophy: a clinicopathological study

J Neurol Sci. 1999 Jan 15;162(2):174-8. doi: 10.1016/s0022-510x(98)00317-7.


We report an autopsy case of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) clinically diagnosed as spinal progressive muscular atrophy (SPMA). The patient was a Japanese woman without hereditary burden. She developed muscle weakness of the distal part of the left lower extremity at age 42, followed by muscle weakness and atrophy of the right lower extremity and upper extremities. At age 57, she needed transient ventilatory support. Slight weakness in the facial muscles and fasciculation of the tongue appeared at age 60. At age 61, she died of sudden respiratory arrest. During the clinical course, neurological examination revealed neither Babinski signs nor hyperreflexia. The neuropathological examination revealed not only neuronal loss with gliosis in the facial nucleus, hypoglossal nucleus, and anterior horns of the spinal cord, but also loss of Betz cells and degeneration of the pyramidal tracts. Based on these clinicopathological findings and review of literature, we conclude that sporadic ALS mimicking SPMA is present.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / pathology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal / pathology*
  • Periodicity*