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Gaze holding deficits discriminate early from late onset cerebellar degeneration


Tarnutzer, A A; Weber, K P; Schuknecht, B; Straumann, D; Marti, S; Bertolini, G (2015). Gaze holding deficits discriminate early from late onset cerebellar degeneration. Journal of Neurology, 262(8):1837-1849.

Abstract

The vestibulo-cerebellum calibrates the output of the inherently leaky brainstem neural velocity-to-position integrator to provide stable gaze holding. In healthy humans small-amplitude centrifugal nystagmus is present at extreme gaze-angles, with a non-linear relationship between eye-drift velocity and eye eccentricity. In cerebellar degeneration this calibration is impaired, resulting in pathological gaze-evoked nystagmus (GEN). For cerebellar dysfunction, increased eye drift may be present at any gaze angle (reflecting pure scaling of eye drift found in controls) or restricted to far-lateral gaze (reflecting changes in shape of the non-linear relationship) and resulting eyed-drift patterns could be related to specific disorders. We recorded horizontal eye positions in 21 patients with cerebellar neurodegeneration (gaze-angle = ±40°) and clinically confirmed GEN. Eye-drift velocity, linearity and symmetry of drift were determined. MR-images were assessed for cerebellar atrophy. In our patients, the relation between eye-drift velocity and gaze eccentricity was non-linear, yielding (compared to controls) significant GEN at gaze-eccentricities ≥20°. Pure scaling was most frequently observed (n = 10/18), followed by pure shape-changing (n = 4/18) and a mixed pattern (n = 4/18). Pure shape-changing patients were significantly (p = 0.001) younger at disease-onset compared to pure scaling patients. Atrophy centered around the superior/dorsal vermis, flocculus/paraflocculus and dentate nucleus and did not correlate with the specific drift behaviors observed. Eye drift in cerebellar degeneration varies in magnitude; however, it retains its non-linear properties. With different drift patterns being linked to age at disease-onset, we propose that the gaze-holding pattern (scaling vs. shape-changing) may discriminate early- from late-onset cerebellar degeneration. Whether this allows a distinction among specific cerebellar disorders remains to be determined.

Abstract

The vestibulo-cerebellum calibrates the output of the inherently leaky brainstem neural velocity-to-position integrator to provide stable gaze holding. In healthy humans small-amplitude centrifugal nystagmus is present at extreme gaze-angles, with a non-linear relationship between eye-drift velocity and eye eccentricity. In cerebellar degeneration this calibration is impaired, resulting in pathological gaze-evoked nystagmus (GEN). For cerebellar dysfunction, increased eye drift may be present at any gaze angle (reflecting pure scaling of eye drift found in controls) or restricted to far-lateral gaze (reflecting changes in shape of the non-linear relationship) and resulting eyed-drift patterns could be related to specific disorders. We recorded horizontal eye positions in 21 patients with cerebellar neurodegeneration (gaze-angle = ±40°) and clinically confirmed GEN. Eye-drift velocity, linearity and symmetry of drift were determined. MR-images were assessed for cerebellar atrophy. In our patients, the relation between eye-drift velocity and gaze eccentricity was non-linear, yielding (compared to controls) significant GEN at gaze-eccentricities ≥20°. Pure scaling was most frequently observed (n = 10/18), followed by pure shape-changing (n = 4/18) and a mixed pattern (n = 4/18). Pure shape-changing patients were significantly (p = 0.001) younger at disease-onset compared to pure scaling patients. Atrophy centered around the superior/dorsal vermis, flocculus/paraflocculus and dentate nucleus and did not correlate with the specific drift behaviors observed. Eye drift in cerebellar degeneration varies in magnitude; however, it retains its non-linear properties. With different drift patterns being linked to age at disease-onset, we propose that the gaze-holding pattern (scaling vs. shape-changing) may discriminate early- from late-onset cerebellar degeneration. Whether this allows a distinction among specific cerebellar disorders remains to be determined.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Ophthalmology Clinic
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neurology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Neuroscience Center Zurich
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Date:16 May 2015
Deposited On:27 May 2015 13:59
Last Modified:01 Jun 2017 07:08
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0340-5354
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00415-015-7773-9
PubMed ID:25980905

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