Progressive supranuclear palsy

Can J Neurol Sci. 1987 Aug;14(3 Suppl):547-54.


Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) was first recognized as a distinct morbid entity by Richardson, Steele and Olszewski a quarter century ago. Subsequent experience has confirmed and extended their original observations. PSP has become familiar as a chronic progressive disorder with extrapyramidal rigidity, bradykinesia, gait impairment, bulbar palsy, dementia and a characteristic supranuclear ophthalmoplegia. It is an important cause of parkinsonism. Its etiology remains obscure. Familial concentrations have not been observed. Some cases exhibit no oculomotor dysfunction. Dementia is usually mild. Recent neuropsychological studies have defined features consistent with frontal lobe cortical dysfunction. Seizures and paroxysmal EEG activity may occur. CT and MRI scans show midbrain atrophy early and later atrophy of the pontine and midbrain tegmentum and the frontal and temporal lobes. PET scans have shown frontal hypometabolism and loss of striatal D-2 dopamine receptors. Postmortem studies have documented involvement of both dopaminergic and cholinergic systems. Treatment remains palliative and unsatisfactory.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology
  • Dementia / etiology
  • Epilepsy / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmoplegia / etiology
  • Parkinson Disease / complications
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / complications
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / diagnosis
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / physiopathology*