Atrophy of the corpus callosum, cognitive impairment, and cortical hypometabolism in progressive supranuclear palsy

Ann Neurol. 1997 May;41(5):606-14. doi: 10.1002/ana.410410509.


Recent studies disclosed neurofibrillary degeneration in layer 3 of the association cortex in patients with progressive supranuclear palsy. This lesion may be associated with corpus callosum atrophy and may impair the function of cortical regions indispensable for complex cognitive activity. To investigate whether corpus callosum atrophy is associated with cognitive impairment and cerebral cortical hypometabolism, we studied 10 patients with progressive supranuclear palsy using magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography with fluorodeoxyglucose as a tracer. Compared with 23 age-matched control subjects, the patients had significantly decreased callosal area-skull area ratios, with anterior predominance of the degree of atrophy. The corpus callosum atrophy was accompanied by a decreased mean cortical glucose metabolic rate, predominantly in the frontal region of the cortex, and poor performance on the picture arrangement subtest of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale and the verbal fluency task. We conclude that corpus callosum atrophy with anterior predominance is present in progressive supranuclear palsy, and that this atrophy is associated with cognitive impairment and cerebral cortical hypometabolism, especially in the frontal cortical region. Corpus callosum atrophy may reflect the pathological changes in the cerebral cortex, accentuated in the frontal region, that contribute to the development of frontal lobe dysfunction in this disease.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Atrophy
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Corpus Callosum / pathology*
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / complications*
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / diagnosis*
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / physiopathology
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed


  • Glucose