Motor nerve biopsy: clinical usefulness and histopathological criteria

Ann Neurol. 2011 Jan;69(1):197-201. doi: 10.1002/ana.22110. Epub 2010 Nov 12.


Early differential diagnosis of motor neuropathies (MN) and lower motor neuron diseases (LMND) is important, as prognosis and therapeutic approaches are different. We evaluated the diagnostic contribution of the biopsy of the motor branch of the obturator nerve and gracilis muscle in 21 consecutive patients in which, after proper clinical and neurophysiological studies, the differential diagnosis was still open. At baseline, motor biopsy was performed; diagnostic confirmation was obtained by 2-year clinical follow-up. Our results support the usefulness of this diagnostic procedure for selected cases of MN and LMND.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Efferent Pathways / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Motor Neuron Disease / pathology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Neuromuscular Junction
  • Obturator Nerve
  • Peripheral Nervous System