Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Basal Ganglia and Thalamus in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis


  • Disclosure: The authors have reported no conflicts of interest.

  • Presented as an abstract in part at the 61st AAN meeting, April 25th–May 2, 2009, Seattle, WA, USA.

  • J Neuroimaging 2013;23:368-374.

Khema R. Sharma, MD, Department of Neurology, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine (M740), 1150 N. W. 14th St., Room no. 609, Miami, FL 33136. E-mail: ksharma@med.miami.edu.




To assess the involvement of basal ganglia and thalamus in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) method.


Fourteen definite-ALS patients and 12 age-matched controls underwent whole brain DTI on a 3T scanner. Mean-diffusivity (MD) and fractional anisotropy (FA) were obtained bilaterally from the basal ganglia and thalamus in the regions-of-interest (ROIs).


The MD was significantly higher (P < .02) in basal ganglia and thalamus in patients with ALS compared with controls. Correspondingly, the FA was significantly lower (P < .02) in these structures, except in caudate (P = .04) and putamen (P = .06) in patients compared with controls. There were mild to strong correlations (r = .3−.7) between the DTI measures of basal ganglia and finger-tap, foot-tap, and lip-and-tongue movement rate.


The increased MD in basal ganglia and thalamus and decreased FA in globus pallidus and thalamus are indicative of neuronal loss or dysfunction in these structures.