MRI of kernicterus

  • Wu-Chung Shen
  • Chi-Chan Chen
  • San-Kan Lee
  • Jeun-Horng Chen
Conference paper


We report six cases of kernicterus examined by MRI. All showed symmetrical high-signal lesions in the globus pallidus bilaterally on long TR images. Two showed high-signal lesions in the subthalamic nuclei and in the corticospinal tracts of the midbrain. Three revealed dilatation of both lateral ventricles, reflecting atrophy of the hippocampus. The lesions described correspond to the pathological reports of kernicterus, that is, icteric discoloration, atrophy with loss of nerve cells and glial scarring in the globus pallidus, subthalamic nuclei and Ammon’s horn of the hippocampus.

key words

Kernicterus Bilirubin encephalopathy Magnetic resonance imaging 


  1. 1.
    Turkel SB, Miller CA, Guttenberg ME, Moynes DR, Hodgman JE (1982) A clinical pathologic reappraisal of kernicterus. Pediatrics 69:267–272.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Gerrard J (1952) Kernicterus. Brain 75:526–532.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Brodersen R (1980) Bilirubin transport in the newborn infant, reviewed with relation to kernicterus. J Pediatr 96:349–355.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ahdab-Barnada M, Moosy J (1984) The neuropathology of kernicterus in the premature neonate: diagnostic problems. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 43:45–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Chen HC (1964) Kernicterus in the Chinese newborn. A morphological and spectrophotometric study. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 23:527–549.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Friede RL (1989) Kernicterus (bilirubin encephalopathy). In: Friede RL (ed) Develomental neuropathology. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 115-124.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Byres RK, Paine RS, Crothers B (1955) Extrapyramidal cerebral palsy with hearing loss following erythroblastosis. Pediatrics 15:248–256.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Newman TB, Maiseis MJ (1990) Does hyperbilirubinemia damage the brain of healthy full-term infants? Clin Perinatal 17:331–358.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Yeung CY (1985) Kernicterus in term infants. Aust Paediatr J 21:273–274.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Levine RL, Fredericks WR, Rapoport SI (1982) Entry of bilirubin into the brain due to opening of the blood-brain barrier. Pediatrics 69:255–259.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wu-Chung Shen
    • 1
  • Chi-Chan Chen
    • 1
  • San-Kan Lee
    • 1
  • Jeun-Horng Chen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyTaichung Veterans General HospitalTaichungTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsChung Shan Medical and Dental College HospitalTaichungTaiwan

Personalised recommendations