Journal of the Neurological Sciences vol:136 issue:1-2 pages:64-70
We studied a 53-year-old woman with progressive weakness of the left arm, gradually spreading to the other limbs. Neurological examination revealed a motor neuron syndrome with paresis, fasciculations and atrophy. Electrophysiological studies showed multiple motor conduction blocks. The anti-GM1 IgM titer was elevated. The patient was thought to have a multifocal motor neuropathy. Despite intravenous cyclophosphamide treatment, however, she died with respiratory insufficiency. On postmortem examination, the brachial plexus showed patches of demyelination underlying different areas of motor conduction block. The spinal cord, however, revealed severe neuronal loss in the ventral horn and axonal loss in the corticospinal tract, indicative of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Demyelination of peripheral nerves could have been responsible for the other conduction blocks in this patient. The prominent degeneration of motor neurons, however, must also have played a role in the clinical picture. Some patients with the syndrome of a multifocal motor neuropathy may have MND rather than, or in addition to, a demyelinating peripheral motor neuropathy.