Cortical laminar abnormalities - Occurrence and clinical significance

M. S. Van der Knaap*, L. S. Smit, J. J.P. Nauta, H. N. Lefeber, J. Valk

*Corresponding author for this work

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Cortical laminar necrosis is a histopathological entity, related to conditions of cerebral energy depletion. Clinical correlates are supposed to be spastic motor deficits, decreased intellectual capacity and epilepsy. A study was performed in 45 children with cortical laminar abnormalities in signal intensity on MRI. The purpose of the study was to evaluate causes and clinical consequences of these cortical abnormalities on MRI in order to find indirect evidence for the hypothesis that they may represent cortical laminar necrosis. In view of the frequently present concomitant white matter damage, two contrast groups were formed: one group of 40 children with periventricular white matter abnormalities, part of them with subcortical extensions of the white matter damage; and another group of 53 children without abnormalities on MRI. Data concerning history, present clinical condition and final diagnosis were collected. The presence of cortical laminar abnormalities on MRI was found to be strongly associated with a history of cerebral energy depletion, especially hypoxia-ischemia, either in the perinatal period or later in life. Whereas white matter abnormalities tended to be more frequent in premature children, cortical laminar abnormalities tended to occur more frequently in term neonates and older children. The presence of cortical laminar abnormalities on MRI was correlated with an increased risk of spasticity in children without concomitant white matter abnormalities. In children with white matter lesions, cortical laminar abnormalities did not contribute to the risk of spasticity, which was already highly increased by the presence of white matter damage. No association was found between cortical abnormalities on MRI and epilepsy or psychomotor retardation. The association between cortical laminar abnormalities on MRI and an episode of cerebral energy depletion is consistent with and can be considered as indirect evidence for the hypothesis that they may represent a mild form of cortical laminar necrosis as known from histopathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-148
Number of pages6
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1993

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