To study the frequency, extent and significance of dilated Virchow-Robin spaces (VRSs) in dystrophia myotonica (DM), we evaluated the cranial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of 41 patients with the adult form of DM and 41 healthy controls. Dilated VRSs and white matter lesions (WMLs) were rated according to semiquantitative methods. Convexity VRSs were more frequent (68 vs. 34%; p < 0.01) and severer (median scores: 4 vs. 0; p < 0.01) in DM patients than in controls, while lenticulostriate VRSs did not show significant differences in frequency (83 vs. 70%; p > 0.05) and severity (median scores: 4 vs. 3; p > 0.05). WMLs were more frequent (66 vs. 22%; p < 0.01) and severer (median scores: 5 vs. 0; p < 0.01) in patients. Disease duration was negatively correlated with convexity VRSs and positively with lobar (centrum semiovale) WML scores. Dilated convexity VRSs might be one of the initial findings in cranial MRI of DM, preceding the appearance of lobar WMLs.
Copyright 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel