In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients, hyperintense signals at the subcortical precentral gyrus in brain fluid attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) MR images have been found more frequently than in controls. Quantitative analysis has revealed a significant increase of the FLAIR-magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signal at the subcortical precentral gyrus of ALS patients compared to healthy controls. In addition, hypointense signals at the rim of the precentral gyrus in FLAIR and T2-weighted images have been shown in ALS patients. In 17 ALS patients, we evaluated hyperintense signals in T2-, T1-, proton density-weighted and FLAIR MR images, and hypointense signals in T2-weighted and FLAIR images 15.7+/-3.0 months after the initial examination by visual scoring. In FLAIR images, a quantitative analysis was added. The visual scores of hyperintense signals along the corticospinal tract did not change significantly in all sequences. However, the quantitative evaluation of FLAIR images revealed a significant increase of the signal intensity at the subcortical precentral gyrus (p<0.005). In addition, the frequency of the visually evaluated hypointense signals at the precentral gyrus increased significantly (p<0.05). The change of MR results did not correlate with the change of clinical parameters. In ALS patients, the increase of the quantified MRI signal at the subcortical precentral gyrus in FLAIR images and the increase of hypointense signals at the rim of the precentral gyrus corroborate the hypothesis that these signals are related to the upper motor neuron degeneration in ALS. Their specificity and clinical relevance have to be clarified further.