The spinal cords of 10 cases of motor neuron disease were compared with those of six age-matched controls using myelin and silver impregnation methods, and the Marchi reaction for myelin degradation products. These studies revealed striking asymmetry in involvement of the lateral and anterior corticospinal tracts, without concordance in the pattern of involvement of these crossed and uncrossed corticospinal pathways. In addition there was prominent involvement of the posterior and anterior spinocerebellar tracts, but less marked abnormality was seen in the reticulospinal pathways. These findings highlight the asymmetrical involvement of the upper and lower motor neuron components of the motor system that is a characteristic feature of the disease, and demonstrate that involvement of the spinocerebellar system is a frequent finding.
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