7-T MRI of the spinal cord can detect lateral corticospinal tract abnormality in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Muscle Nerve. 2013 May;47(5):760-2. doi: 10.1002/mus.23720. Epub 2013 Mar 29.


Introduction: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder affecting lower and upper motor neurons. Degeneration of the lateral corticospinal tract (CST) is a key finding in ALS cervical spinal cord autopsies. We hypothesized that in vivo ultra-high-field MRI of the cervical spinal cord can detect abnormality in the CST.

Methods: A patient with ALS (disease duration 23 months) and a healthy control were scanned at 7-T MRI using a 19-channel coil. Multi-echo T2*-weighted imaging was performed in the spinal cord, covering C2-C6. Cross-sectional resolution was 0.37 × 0.37 mm(2).

Results: We detected clear signal hyperintensity in both segments of the lateral CST in the ALS patient, which was significant when compared with the normal control subject (P < 10(-7)).

Conclusion: We believe there are potential benefits of 7-T MRI for increased sensitivity and spatial accuracy in characterizing pathology in the spinal cord.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Neurons / pathology
  • Pyramidal Tracts / pathology*
  • Spinal Cord / pathology*