Owing to the frequent observation of poverty of movements, facial hypomimia and balance impairment, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) variant with predominance of upper motor neuron involvement (UMN-ALS) is prone to be diagnosed with Parkinsonism. A clinical assessment, including the velocity-dependent stretch response test to differentiate between pyramidal and extrapyramidal stiffness; the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale and the Berg Balance Scale to assess degree of bradykinesia and postural instability; and 123I-FP-CIT scintigraphy evaluation to investigate the nigrostriatal circuit involvement, were carried out to characterize Parkinson-like features in UMN-ALS patients. Sixteen UMN-ALS patients were included in the study. The velocity-dependent stretch response indicated spasticity in all the muscles tested. The degree of stiffness was found to be related to bradykinesia and postural instability. Eleven patients (70%) showed a reduction in striatal 123I-FP-CIT uptake found to be related to disease duration and patients' ages but not to scores of the functional scales. Slowness of movements and postural instability noted in our patients could be mostly attributed to spasticity. The lack of any correlation between UPDRS or BBS scores and the degree of nigrostriatal impairment on DaTSCAN seems to disprove nigrostriatal circuit involvement in these extrapyramidal-like features.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Nigrostriatal system
- Upper motor neuron
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology