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.
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.