Subcortical structures in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Neurobiol Aging. 2015 Feb;36(2):1075-82. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.09.002. Epub 2014 Sep 6.


The aim of this study was to assess the involvement of deep gray matter, hippocampal subfields, and ventricular changes in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A total of 112 ALS patients and 60 healthy subjects participated. High-resolution T1-weighted images were acquired using a 3T MRI scanner. Thirty-nine patients underwent a follow-up scan. Volumetric and shape analyses of subcortical structures were performed, measures were correlated with clinical parameters, and longitudinal changes were assessed. At baseline, reduced hippocampal volumes (left: p = 0.007; right: p = 0.011) and larger inferior lateral ventricles (left: p = 0.013; right: p = 0.041) were found in patients compared to healthy controls. Longitudinal analyses demonstrated a significant decrease in volume of the right cornu ammonis 2/3 and 4/dentate gyrus and left presubiculum (p = 0.002, p = 0.045, p < 0.001), and a significant increase in the ventricular volume in the lateral (left: p < 0.001; right: p < 0.001), 3rd (p < 0.001) and 4th (p = 0.001) ventricles. Larger ventricles were associated with a lower ALSFRS-R score (p = 0.021). In conclusion, ALS patients show signs of neurodegeneration of subcortical structures and ventricular enlargement. Subcortical involvement is progressive and correlates with clinical parameters, highlighting its role in the neurodegenerative process in ALS.

Keywords: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Basal ganglia; Hippocampal subfields; Longitudinal; Magnetic resonance imaging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / pathology*
  • Basal Ganglia / pathology
  • Cerebral Ventricles / pathology*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Gray Matter / pathology*
  • Hippocampus / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Degeneration*
  • Young Adult