Wernekink Commissure Syndrome Secondary to Bilateral Caudal Paramedian Midbrain Infarction Presenting with a Unique "Heart or V" Appearance Sign: Case Report and Review of the Literature.
ABSTRACT: Wernekink commissure syndrome secondary to caudal paramedian midbrain infarction (CPMI) is a rare midbrain syndrome involving the decussation of the superior cerebellar peduncle in the caudal paramedian midbrain tegmentum. The central characteristics are constant bilateral cerebellar dysfunction, variable eye movement disorders, and rare delayed palatal myoclonus. Following is a description of the case of a 60-year-old man who presented with dizziness, slurred speech, and difficulty walking. Neurological examination revealed bilateral cerebellar dysfunction and bilateral internuclear ophthalmoplegia (bilateral INO). Serial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed a lesion in the caudal paramedian midbrain with a "heart-shaped" sign on fluid-attenuation inversion recovery images and a "V-shaped" appearance on diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI). An acute CPMI with a "heart or V" appearance sign was diagnosed. Upon follow-up evaluation 3 months later, a palatal tremor accompanied by involuntary head tremor was discovered. Hypertrophy and increased signal of the bilateral inferior olivary nucleus, compatible with hypertropic olivary degeneration (HOD) were revealed during a subsequent MRI study.
Project description:Symptomatic palatal tremor is potentially the result of a lesion in the triangle of Guillain-Mollaret (1931) and is associated with hypertrophic olivary degeneration (HOD) which has characteristic MR findings. The triangle is defined by dentate efferents ascending through the superior cerebellar peduncle and crossing in the decussation of the brachium conjunctivum inferior to the red nucleus, to finaliy reach the inferior olivary nucleus (ION) via the central tegmental tract. The triangle is completed by ION decussating efferents terminating on the original dentate nucleus via the inferior cerebellar peduncle. We can demonstrate the anatomy of this anatomical triangle using a clinical case of palatal tremor presenting with bilateral subjective pulsatile tinnitus along with the pathognomonic MR findings previously described. The hyperintense T2 signal in these patients may be permanent, but the hypertrophied olive normally regresses after 4 years. The temporal relationship between the evolution of the histopathology and the development of the palatal tremor remains unknown as does the natural history of the tremor. Botox injection at the level of tensor and levator veli palatini insertion have been used to treat patients with disabling tremor synchronous tinnitus. A lesion involving the triangle can have a quite varied clinical expression.
Project description:Hypertrophic degeneration of the inferior olive is mainly observed in patients developing palatal tremor (PT) or oculopalatal tremor (OPT). This syndrome manifests as a synchronous tremor of the palate (PT) and/or eyes (OPT) that may also involve other muscles from the branchial arches. It is associated with hypertrophic inferior olivary degeneration that is characterized by enlarged and vacuolated neurons, increased number and size of astrocytes, severe fibrillary gliosis, and demyelination. It appears on MRI as an increased T2/FLAIR signal intensity and enlargement of the inferior olive. There are two main conditions in which hypertrophic degeneration of the inferior olive occurs. The most frequent, studied, and reported condition is the development of PT/OPT and hypertrophic degeneration of the inferior olive in the weeks or months following a structural brainstem or cerebellar lesion. This "symptomatic" condition requires a destructive lesion in the Guillain-Mollaret pathway, which spans from the contralateral dentate nucleus via the brachium conjunctivum and the ipsilateral central tegmental tract innervating the inferior olive. The most frequent etiologies of destructive lesion are stroke (hemorrhagic more often than ischemic), brain trauma, brainstem tumors, and surgical or gamma knife treatment of brainstem cavernoma. The most accepted explanation for this symptomatic PT/OPT is that denervated olivary neurons released from inhibitory inputs enlarge and develop sustained synchronized oscillations. The cerebellum then modulates/accentuates this signal resulting in abnormal motor output in the branchial arches. In a second condition, PT/OPT and progressive cerebellar ataxia occurs in patients without structural brainstem or cerebellar lesion, other than cerebellar atrophy. This syndrome of progressive ataxia and palatal tremor may be sporadic or familial. In the familial form, where hypertrophic degeneration of the inferior olive may not occur (or not reported), the main reported etiologies are Alexander disease, polymerase gamma mutation, and spinocerebellar ataxia type 20. Whether or not these are associated with specific degeneration of the dentato-olivary pathway remain to be determined. The most symptomatic consequence of OPT is eye oscillations. Therapeutic trials suggest gabapentin or memantine as valuable drugs to treat eye oscillations in OPT.
Project description:The frequency and causes of hypertrophic olivary degeneration (HOD) are unknown. We compared the clinical and radiological characteristics of unilateral HOD and bilateral HOD.We performed a search of a radiologic report database for patients who were radiologically diagnosed as having HOD. This database includes the patients examined at the Mayo Clinic in Florida and Arizona. We used the search terms "hypertrophic olivary degeneration", "HOD", and "olivary" in the reports recorded from 1995 to 2015. Pertinent medical records and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the brain for those with HOD were reviewed retrospectively.We identified 142 MRI studies on 95 cases who had radiologically proven HOD, 39 cases had unilateral HOD and 56 with bilateral HOD. In symptomatic cases, the most common symptom was ataxia. Palatal tremor was observed in almost half of all HOD cases. While cerebrovascular diseases were the most frequent etiology in both types of HOD (n = 24, 62% in unilateral; n = 17, 30% in bilateral), more than half of bilateral HOD cases had an unknown etiology (52%, n = 29), whereas only 13% (n = 5) of the unilateral cases had an unknown etiology (?(2) test, P < 0.001). The lesions of unilateral HOD had a tendency to improve radiologically over time, whereas those associated with bilateral HOD were likely to worsen (?(2) test, P < 0.05).Our study showed that bilateral HOD is more common than unilateral HOD. Half of bilateral HOD cases had no obvious cause and some worsened over time. This may implicate a possible primary neurodegenerative process.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Palato-pharyngo-laryngeal myoclonus, a variant of palatal myoclonus, is characterized by involuntary rhythmic movements of palatal, pharyngeal, and laryngeal muscles. Symptomatic palatal myoclonus is classically associated with hypertrophic olivary degeneration on MRI imaging due to a lesion in the triangle of Guillain-Mollaret. CASE PRESENTATION:We report a case of palato-pharyngo-laryngeal myoclonus in a patient post-cerebellar hemorrhagic stroke who presented with recurrent retrograde migration of his gastrojejunostomy feeding tubes. Treatment with either divalproex sodium or gabapentin resulted in a significant decrease in his gastrointestinal symptoms and no further episodes of gastrojejunostomy tube migration. CONCLUSIONS:This case study indicates that the movement disorder associated with hypertrophic olivary degeneration may involve the gastrointestinal system. Anticonvulsants, such as gabapentin and divalproex sodium, may reduce the severity of gastrointestinal symptoms in cases associated with hypertrophic olivary degeneration. The anatomy of the Guillain-Mollaret triangle and the pathophysiology of hypertrophic olivary degeneration are reviewed.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Ocular palatal tremor typically develops after a breach in the Guillian-Mollaret triangle. We herein describe a variant of this syndrome in which dystonia is also present, hence called, here, ocular palatal tremor plus dystonia. METHODS:We assessed eye-head movements and dystonia in six patients with ocular palatal plus dystonia. RESULTS:Among six patients with ocular palatal tremor two had focal dystonia, three had multifocal dystonia, and one had generalized dystonia. The dystonia affected the upper extremities and neck in four patients, the lower extremities in three and the face in two. Three out of four cervical dystonia patients had head tremor. Two patients also had speech involvement. Lack of correlation between eye and head oscillations suggested that head oscillations were not compensatory or secondary to the eye oscillations and vice versa. CONCLUSIONS:We describe a novel variant of ocular palatal tremor with dystonia. We speculate that in such variant the dystonia is possibly could be a result of abnormal cerebellar outflow in patients with a breach in Guillain-Mollaret triangle.
Project description:Cerebellar circuitry is important to controlling and modifying motor activity. It conducts the coordination and correction of errors in muscle contractions during active movements. Therefore, cerebrovascular lesions of the cerebellum or its pathways can cause diverse movement disorders, such as action tremor, Holmes' tremor, palatal tremor, asterixis, and dystonia. The pathophysiology of abnormal movements after stroke remains poorly understood. However, due to the current advances in functional neuroimaging, it has recently been described as changes in functional brain networks. This review describes the clinical features and pathophysiological mechanisms in different types of movement disorders following cerebrovascular lesions in the cerebellar circuits.
Project description:Background:There is a meaningful necessity for a targeted therapy of essential tremor (ET), as medications have not been developed specifically for ET. For nearly a century, many drugs have been applied in the treatment of tremor but the drug treatment of ET remains still unknown. Some potential therapeutic factors such fingolimod (FTY720) can be effectively used to treat ET in animals. In the present research, the effect of FTY720, the immunomodulatory sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) analog, on degeneration of cerebellar and olivary neurons induced by harmaline in male rats was investigated. Methods:The animals were allotted into control dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), saline + harmaline [30 mg/kg, intraperitoneally, (i.p.)], harmaline + FTY720 (1 mg/kg, i.p, 1 h and 24 h before harmaline injection) groups (n = 10). The cerebellum and inferior olive nucleus (ION) were studied for neuronal degeneration using immunohistochemistry (IHC) and ultrastructural study by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) techniques. Results:Harmaline caused neuronal cell loss, caspase-3 mediated apoptosis, astrocytosis and ultrastructural changes in cerebellar Purkinje cells and inferior olive neurons. FTY720 exhibited neuroprotective effects on cerebellar Purkinje cells and inferior olivary neurons. Conclusion:These results suggest that FTY720 has potential efficacy for prevention of ET neurodegeneration and astrocytosis induced by harmaline in male rats.
Project description:Holmes' tremor (rubral or midbrain outflow tremor) refers to a hyperkinetic movement disorder characterized by mild resting and more severe postural and action tremor often with associated brainstem symptoms, dystonia and cerebellar deficits. This syndrome should prompt lesional evaluation with neuroimaging focused on the dorsal midbrain, cerebellar outflow tracts, and thalamus. Herein we report a 26-year-old previously healthy male who presented with 4 years of progressive horizontal diplopia, right Parinaud syndrome, and appendicular ataxia. Neuroimaging revealed a right dorsal midbrain enhancing lesion which completely resolved with intravenous methylprednisolone prompting a diagnosis of neuroinflammatory syndrome. Subsequent clinical and radiographic evaluations, however, revealed steadily progressive left dorsal midbrain syndrome with an expansile enhancing lesion which culminated 4 years from symptom onset with a right upper extremity low-frequency rest, postural and action tremor, ataxic dysarthria, and mild right dystonia with dysdiadochokinesia. Uncomplicated brainstem biopsy confirmed intracranial germinoma and the patient underwent definitive radiation therapy with dramatic radiographic response and partial clinical improvement. This case, which to our knowledge is only the second report of intracranial germinoma presenting as Holmes' tremor, highlights the critical importance of definitive tissue diagnosis in the evaluation of lesional brainstem pathology presenting as Holmes' tremor. Steroid responsiveness can be seen in non-inflammatory pathology including intracranial germinoma. Prompt evaluation and appropriate treatment are important as Holmes' tremor responds poorly to symptomatic therapies and response to radiation therapy is favorable for germinomas.
Project description:The inferior olivary nuclei clearly play a role in creating oculopalatal tremor, but the exact mechanism is unknown. Oculopalatal tremor develops some time after a lesion in the brain that interrupts inhibition of the inferior olive by the deep cerebellar nuclei. Over time the inferior olive gradually becomes hypertrophic and its neurons enlarge developing abnormal soma-somatic gap junctions. However, results from several experimental studies have confounded the issue because they seem inconsistent with a role for the inferior olive in oculopalatal tremor, or because they ascribe the tremor to other brain areas. Here we look at 3D binocular eye movements in 15 oculopalatal tremor patients and compare their behaviour to the output of our recent mathematical model of oculopalatal tremor. This model has two mechanisms that interact to create oculopalatal tremor: an oscillator in the inferior olive and a modulator in the cerebellum. Here we show that this dual mechanism model can reproduce the basic features of oculopalatal tremor and plausibly refute the confounding experimental results. Oscillations in all patients and simulations were aperiodic, with a complicated frequency spectrum showing dominant components from 1 to 3 Hz. The model's synchronized inferior olive output was too small to induce noticeable ocular oscillations, requiring amplification by the cerebellar cortex. Simulations show that reducing the influence of the cerebellar cortex on the oculomotor pathway reduces the amplitude of ocular tremor, makes it more periodic and pulse-like, but leaves its frequency unchanged. Reducing the coupling among cells in the inferior olive decreases the oscillation's amplitude until they stop (at approximately 20% of full coupling strength), but does not change their frequency. The dual-mechanism model accounts for many of the properties of oculopalatal tremor. Simulations suggest that drug therapies designed to reduce electrotonic coupling within the inferior olive or reduce the disinhibition of the cerebellar cortex on the deep cerebellar nuclei could treat oculopalatal tremor. We conclude that oculopalatal tremor oscillations originate in the hypertrophic inferior olive and are amplified by learning in the cerebellum.
Project description:Palatal tremor (PT) is an uncommon movement disorder that has been subdivided into essential and symptomatic forms. A distinct subgroup of the symptomatic form presents with progressive ataxia and PT. The histopathology of progressive ataxia and PT has not been previously determined. This study consisted of a clinical review, histopathology, and electron microscopy of the brain of a man with progressive ataxia and PT. The inferior olivary hypertrophy was symmetrical and homogenous, and no focal pathologic lesions could be identified in the brainstem. Insoluble tau deposits were found in neurons, exclusively infratentorially. We present the clinical and pathological evaluation of a case of progressive ataxia and PT that provide evidence for a unique form of 4R tauopathy.