BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The extensive application of advanced MR imaging techniques to the study of ALS has undoubtedly improved our knowledge of disease pathophysiology, even if the actual spread of the neurodegenerative process throughout the central nervous system is not fully understood. The present study aimed to detect WM patterns of microstructural abnormalities to better investigate the pathologic process in ALS, within but also beyond CSTs, in a whole-brain analysis. MATERIALS AND METHODS: DTI was performed in 19 patients with ALS and 20 matched healthy controls, by using whole-brain TBSS and VOI analyses. RESULTS: We observed a significant decrease of FA in the body of CC of the ALS group (P .05). At the VOI level, both FA decrease and RD increase in the body of CC significantly correlated with the UMN score (P .003 and P .02). Additionally, significant voxelwise positive correlations between FA and the ALSFRS-R were detected in the WM tracts underneath the left premotor cortex (P .05). CONCLUSIONS: The correlations between reduction of FA and increase of RD in the body of CC with the UMN score indicate that the WM degeneration in the CC is strictly related to the ALS pyramidal impairment, while the correlation between FA and ALSFRS-R in the associative tracts underneath the left premotor cortex might reflect the progressive spread of the disease from the motor toward the extramotor areas.
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