Skeletal Radiology

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 569–575 | Cite as

A pilot study assessing T1-weighted muscle MRI in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

  • Luca DiamantiEmail author
  • Enrico Alfonsi
  • Ottavia Eleonora Ferraro
  • Cristina Cereda
  • Orietta Pansarasa
  • Stefano Bastianello
  • Anna Pichiecchio
Scientific Article


The authors set out to study the role of T1-weighted muscle MRI in the diagnostic phase of ALS, comparing images from ten patients and nine age-matched healthy controls (HCs). All subjects underwent MRI of 68 muscles in the hands, paraspinal regions and lower limbs; the images were semi-quantitatively scored. Atrophy was more frequent in muscles of ALS patients than HCs (p < 0.0001); fatty infiltration was particularly marked in iliopsoas (p = 0.046), anterior (p = 0.020) and posterior (p = 0.047) calf muscles in patients. A trend towards agreement was found between MRI and clinic-EMG data for the first dorsal interosseous, paraspinal, and tibial anterior muscles. Muscle T1-weighted MRI can distinguish ALS patients from HCs for specific regions (i.e., legs). MRI abnormalities could be found in pauci-symptomatic spinal muscles in bulbar-onset patients. Muscle MRI may be a useful diagnostic tool in ALS, in particular for muscles difficult to investigate using clinical-EMG methods.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Muscle magnetic resonance imaging Biomarkers Electromyography Muscle damage 



Italian Ministry of Health (Ricerca Corrente 2016-2017).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

256_2018_3073_MOESM1_ESM.docx (66 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 66 kb)
256_2018_3073_MOESM2_ESM.docx (23 kb)
ESM 2 (DOCX 23 kb)


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Copyright information

© ISS 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neurology DepartmentIRCCS Mondino FoundationPaviaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Brain and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly
  3. 3.Neurophysiopathology DepartmentIRCCS Mondino FoundationPaviaItaly
  4. 4.Unit of Biostatistics and Clinical Epidemiology, Department of Public Health, Experimental and Forensic MedicineUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly
  5. 5.Center of Genomic and post-GenomicIRCCS Mondino FoundationPaviaItaly
  6. 6.Neuroradiology DepartmentIRCCS Mondino FoundationPaviaItaly

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