Motor dysfunction in olivopontocerebellar atrophy is related to cerebral metabolic rate studied with positron emission tomography

Ann Neurol. 1988 Sep;24(3):414-9. doi: 10.1002/ana.410240310.


We compared the severity of motor dysfunction with local cerebral metabolic rates for glucose (lCMRGlc) and the degree of tissue atrophy in 30 patients with olivopontocerebellar atrophy (OPCA). We devised a scale to quantitate the degree of ataxia in the neurological examinations. lCMRGlc was measured with 18F-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose and positron emission tomography (PET). Tissue atrophy was assessed by visual rating of computed tomographic scans. PET studies revealed marked hypometabolism in the cerebellar vermis, cerebellar hemispheres, and brainstem of OPCA patients compared with 30 control subjects. A significant correlation was found between severity of motor impairment and lCMRGlc within the cerebellar vermis, both cerebellar hemispheres, and the brainstem. A significant but weaker relationship was noted between the degree of tissue atrophy in these regions and clinical severity. Partial correlation analysis revealed that motor dysfunction in OPCA correlated more strongly with lCMRGlc than with the amount of tissue atrophy. These results suggest that the clinical manifestations of OPCA are more closely related to the metabolic state of the tissue than to the structural changes in the cerebellum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Olivopontocerebellar Atrophies / diagnostic imaging
  • Olivopontocerebellar Atrophies / physiopathology*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Psychomotor Disorders / diagnostic imaging
  • Psychomotor Disorders / etiology
  • Psychomotor Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Reference Values
  • Spinocerebellar Degenerations / physiopathology*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed