Brainstem and spinal cord MRI identifies altered sensorimotor pathways post-stroke

Nat Commun. 2019 Aug 6;10(1):3524. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11244-3.


Damage to the corticospinal tract is widely studied following unilateral subcortical stroke, whereas less is known about changes to other sensorimotor pathways. This may be due to the fact that many studies investigated morphological changes in the brain, where the majority of descending and ascending brain pathways are overlapping, and did not investigate the brainstem where they separate. Moreover, these pathways continue passing through separate regions in the spinal cord. Here, using a high-resolution structural MRI of both the brainstem and the cervical spinal cord, we were able to identify a number of microstructurally altered pathways, in addition to the corticospinal tract, post stroke. Moreover, decreases in ipsi-lesional corticospinal tract integrity and increases in contra-lesional medial reticulospinal tract integrity were correlated with motor impairment severity in individuals with stroke.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Stem / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Stem / pathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cervical Vertebrae
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Pathways / diagnostic imaging
  • Neural Pathways / pathology
  • Paresis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Paresis / etiology
  • Paresis / pathology
  • Spinal Cord / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Cord / pathology*
  • Stroke / complications*
  • Stroke / diagnostic imaging
  • Stroke / pathology
  • Upper Extremity / innervation
  • White Matter / diagnostic imaging
  • White Matter / pathology