Atypical manifestations of reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome: findings on diffusion imaging and ADC mapping

Neuroradiology. 2004 Dec;46(12):978-83. doi: 10.1007/s00234-004-1276-1. Epub 2004 Nov 5.


Typically, reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome (RPLS) involves the parieto-occipital lobes. When regions of the brain other than the parieto-occipital lobes are predominantly involved, the syndrome can be called atypical RPLS. The purpose of this study is to find radiological and pathophysiological features of atypical RPLS by using diffusion-weighted imaging (D-WI). We retrospectively reviewed seven patients (two with eclampsia, one with cyclosporine neurotoxicity, and four with hypertensive encephalopathy) with atypical MR manifestations of RPLS. Changes in signal intensity on T2-weighted imaging (T2-WI) and D-WI, and ADC ratio, were analyzed. In patients with atypical manifestation of RPLS, high signal intensities on T2-WI were noted in the frontal lobe, basal ganglia, thalamus, brainstem, and subcortical white matter in regions other than the parieto-occipital lobes. These areas of increased signal intensities on T2-WI showed increased ADC values, representing vasogenic edema in all seven patients. This result should be very useful in differentiating atypical RPLS from other metabolic brain disorders that affect the same sites with cytotoxic edema.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Mental Disorders / pathology*
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Recurrence
  • Remission, Spontaneous
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Seizures / etiology
  • Seizures / pathology*
  • Seizures / physiopathology*
  • Syndrome