Pallidal lesions in patients with liver cirrhosis: clinical and MRI evaluation

Metab Brain Dis. 1995 Sep;10(3):219-31. doi: 10.1007/BF02081027.


Fifty patients with liver cirrhosis underwent neurological, psychometric, electroencephalographic and biochemical examination as well as cranial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the incidence of pallidal lesions in cirrhotics and their correlation to liver function, as well as to neurological and mental state. In one patient a histopathological study of the brain was performed. The vast majority of the patients with liver cirrhosis (92%) present with bilateral symmetric pallidal hyperintensities in the T1-weighted MR spin echo sequence, while the T2-weighted images are normal. On the whole there was no correlation between the signal intensity of the pallidal lesions and measures of liver function, neurological status or grade of encephalopathy. As could be shown in follow-up examinations the signal intensity of the lesions increased with decreasing liver function and decreased with normalization of liver function after liver transplantation. The substrate of the lesions remains unclear. However, regions which show alterations in the MRI are histopathologically characterized by the appearance of Alzheimer-type-II cells.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Female
  • Globus Pallidus / pathology*
  • Hepatic Encephalopathy / pathology
  • Hepatic Encephalopathy / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Liver / physiopathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / physiopathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychometrics