Alcoholic cerebellar degeneration (ACD) is one of the most common neurological complications in alcoholics. As far as we know, however, only four Japanese autopsy cases of ACD have been reported, and only limited clinicopathological data on this disease are now available in Japan. The aims of this study were: (i) to examine the clinicopathological correlation of six Japanese autopsy cases of ACD, including three asymptomatic cases; and (ii) to elucidate the pattern of progression of the cerebellar lesion in ACD. All six alcoholics were histopathologically diagnosed as having "pure" ACD without Wernicke's encephalopathy. The characteristics of the topographical distribution of the cerebellar lesion were as follows. Symptomatic cases (cases 1-3) showed more severe and widespread change than asymptomatic cases (cases 4-6). Even in case 6, which had the mildest lesion, the anterior vermis developed a moderate change (Purkinje cell loss and narrowing of the molecular layer). In cases 4 and 5 with more severe and widespread lesions, the superior and posterior vermis and the adjacent regions of the superior hemisphere, including the anterior lobe and simple lobule, were involved. In all symptomatic cases, the anterior superior hemisphere had severe lesions involving the granular cell layer. In contrast to asymptomatic cases, all symptomatic cases also had severe to moderate lesions in the anterior inferior hemisphere. In cases 1 and 2 with the most severe lesions, the moderate to severe changes were distributed in the posterior and inferior portions of both the vermis and hemisphere. These findings suggest that in ACD, severe lesions successively develop: (i) in the anterior superior vermis; (ii) anterior superior hemisphere; (iii) anterior inferior hemisphere; and (iv) anterior inferior vermis. In addition, cerebellar symptoms may frequently occur if the anterior superior hemisphere and anterior inferior hemisphere, in addition to the anterior superior vermis, are involved.
- Alcohol dependence
- Cerebellar degeneration
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Clinical Neurology