Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is useful for demonstrating demyelinating lesions in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Magnetic resonance imaging studies show that MS lesions are generally not uniform in shape, size, or distribution. Linearly shaped lesions at the trigeminal root entry zone have been occasionally reported in single cases of MS, but, to our knowlege, the frequency and the clinical features of such patients have not been comprehensively characterized.
To describe the frequency and the clinical and laboratory features of patients with MS who had linearly shaped lesions at the trigeminal root as seen on MRI.
Design and Setting
A retrospective review of medical records and MRI films of Japanese patients with MS admitted to a university hospital and its affiliated hospital in Sendai, Japan.
Patients and Methods
Brain MRI films of 74 consecutive Japanese patients with MS (51 females and 23 males) were studied retrospectively and the clinical and laboratory features of the patients with linearly shaped lesions at the trigeminal root were also investigated retrospectively.
Five patients (6.8%) were shown to have T1-weighted–hypointense, T2-weighted–hyperintense, nonenhanced linear lesions in the pons on MRI, and these were uniformly localized in the intramedullary portion of the trigeminal root. All of these patients had clinically definite MS and had various types of facial sensory disturbances, such as neuralgia (1 patient), hypesthesia (2 patients), or paresthesia (3 patients). No other clinical or laboratory feature was characteristic in these 5 patients.
Linear pontine trigeminal root lesions were common in our patients with MS. They were associated with various facial sensory symptoms. Since similar lesions are formed in animal models of herpes simplex virus infection, further study is needed to clarify whether these MS lesions are virally induced.