Volumetric cortical loss in sporadic and familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Turner MR., Hammers A., Allsop J., Al-Chalabi A., Shaw CE., Brooks DJ., Leigh PN., Andersen PM.
Patients homozygous for the D90A mutation of the SOD1 gene (homD90A) demonstrate markedly slower progression of disease than those patients with sporadic ALS (SALS). PET studies have demonstrated a different cortical vulnerability in the two groups, reflected also in neurophysiological studies showing reduced cortical excitability in homD90A. Voxel-based morphometric analysis of magnetic resonance images (MRIs) enables the detection of regional differences in grey matter volume, and can be used to localize cortical atrophy in vivo. In this study, segmented, spatially normalized, modulated and smoothed grey matter portions of the MRIs from 23 SALS and seven homD90A patients with similar disability, were compared with those from 28 healthy control subjects. The SALS group showed bilateral areas of atrophy mainly confined to motor and pre-motor cortices. Cortical changes in the homD90A group were more pronounced within the frontal lobes when both were compared with healthy controls. This study provides further evidence for a different pattern of cortical neuronal vulnerability in homD90A versus SALS patients that may provide insight as to their slower rate of disease progression.