Key words Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract We attempted to correlate the marked neurological asymmetry observed in two amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients with their histopathological lesions. Patient 1, a 52-year-old man, developed dysarthria and dysphagia, followed by muscle weakness in the left arm and then of the left leg. Patient 2, a 44-year-old man, developed muscle weakness in the left hand, left leg, tongue with left-sided predominance, right hand and right leg in that order of progression. Both patients exhibited moderate to marked left-sided predominant involvement of the lower motor neuron system, accompanied by retained or hyperactive deep tendon reflexes on the left side in the early stage of their illness. Most of the asymmetry in the lower motor neuron system involvement persisted until the death of the patients. Histopathological examinations, including semiquantitative analysis, revealed that both patients exhibited left-sided predominant degeneration of the lower motor neuron system at those spinal cord levels where the neurological asymmetry was of a moderate to marked degree. In addition left-sided predominant degeneration of the lateral corticospinal tracts was seen in both patients and right-sided predominant involvement of Betz cells in the leg area of the motor cortex of patient 1. This pattern of both the neurological and histopathological asymmetry suggested the probable existence of an intimate somatotopically related linkage between the upper motor neuron system degeneration and lower motor neuron system degeneration in both patients.
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