Pontine and extrapontine myelinolysis

Brain : a Journal of Neurology
D G WrightM Victor

Abstract

No coherent theory has been advanced to explain either the particular localization of the myelinolytic lesions of central pontine myelinolysis or their pathogenesis. However, several lines of evidence support the generalization that the centre of the basis pontis has a special susceptibility to a metabolic fault. The constancy of localization of the lesion and its bilateral symmetry are the very attributes that characterize other metabolic (nutritional) disorders, such as the assymmetrical degeneragion of the papillomacular bundles within the optic nerves and tracts in deficiency amblyopia and the specific affection of the paraventricular regions in the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. And clinically, the frequent occurrence of central pontine myelinolysis in a setting of severe metabolic derangement, particularly of the serum sodium, points in the same direction.

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