Callosal dysfunction in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis correlates with diffusion tensor imaging of the central motor system

Neuromuscul Disord. 2008 May;18(5):398-407. doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2008.02.005. Epub 2008 May 5.


We investigated the frequency and functional relevance of corpus callosum degeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A total of 22 ALS patients and 29 healthy controls performed the newly developed Contralateral Co-Movement Test as indicator of callosal dysfunction. Diffusion tensor imaging was applied to determine fractional anisotropy values in the callosal area containing the crossing motor fibers and in the pyramidal tracts in 13 subjects of each group. ALS patients had more than twice the amount of co-movements as compared to healthy subjects. Contralateral co-movements correlated with fractional anisotropy values of the corpus callosum motor region as did ALS Functional Rating Scale as measure of disease progression. In both groups, contralateral co-movements correlated with the central motor index (ratio of the mean of fractional anisotropy values of both pyramidal tracts and corpus callosum motor region). Neuropsychological test results failed to show correlations with functional or morphological parameters. Combining Contralateral Co-Movement Test and diffusion tensor imaging in ALS revealed the close relation between functional and morphological impairment in the degenerating central motor-neuronal network. The Contralateral Co-Movement Test delivers simple means of symptom quantification, independent of ALS Functional Rating Scale, for future neuroprotective trials.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / pathology
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Anisotropy
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Corpus Callosum / pathology
  • Corpus Callosum / physiopathology*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Cortex / pathology
  • Motor Cortex / physiopathology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Pyramidal Tracts / pathology
  • Pyramidal Tracts / physiopathology*