Correlation of diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging with neuropathology in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Arch Neurol. 2002 Jan;59(1):128-34. doi: 10.1001/archneur.59.1.128.


Background: Although the diagnosis of Creutzfeld-Jakob disease (CJD) is straightforward in fully developed cases, a definitive diagnosis can be difficult early in the course of the illness. T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signal abnormalities, and recently, diffusion-weighted MRI abnormalities, have been described in patients with CJD, suggesting the utility of MRI in the early recognition of CJD.

Objective: To correlate diffusion-weighted MRI signal abnormalities with neuropathologic changes in CJD.

Materials and methods: Diffusion-weighted MRI and neuropathologic changes of 2 patients with autopsy-proven CJD were examined in a blinded fashion by a neuroradiologist and a neuropathologist.

Results: Areas of bright signal on diffusion-weighted MRI correlated with a higher degree of spongiform changes.

Conclusion: Diffusion-weighted MRI in CJD demonstrates specific-signal abnormalities that correlate well with areas of the most severe and characteristic neuropathologic changes.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain / pathology
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome / pathology*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests