Wilson disease: findings at MR imaging and CT of the brain with clinical correlation

Radiology. 1996 Feb;198(2):531-6. doi: 10.1148/radiology.198.2.8596862.


Purpose: To describe the spectrum of brain abnormalities in Wilson disease (hepatolenticular degeneration) as depicted at magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and computed tomography (CT) and to relate these findings to neurologic and hepatologic abnormalities.

Materials and methods: Fifty patients with Wilson disease participated in the cross-sectional study: Patients underwent cerebral MR imaging (n = 49), CT (n = 44), abdominal duplex ultrasound (US) (n = 46), and neurologic examination (n = 50) within a week. Relative risk and the Fisher exact test were used for statistical analysis.

Results: Supratentorial and infratentorial abnormalities in the gray and white matter were found in the pyramidal and extrapyramidal system. In Wilson disease, an abnormal striatum depicted on MR images correlated with pseudoparkinsonian signs, an abnormal dentatothalamic tract correlated with cerebellar signs, and an abnormal pontocerebellar tract correlated with pseudoparkinsonian signs. The presence of portosystemic shunt was strongly associated with abnormality of the globus pallidus.

Conclusion: MR imaging findings were of some use in the clinical treatment of patients with Wilson disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hepatolenticular Degeneration / diagnosis*
  • Hepatolenticular Degeneration / epidemiology
  • Hepatolenticular Degeneration / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Portal / diagnostic imaging
  • Hypertension, Portal / physiopathology
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Circulation / physiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Portal System / diagnostic imaging
  • Portal System / physiopathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography