MR Findings in Tay-Sachs Disease

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MR and CT findings in two patients of Tay-Sachs disease are reported.

Materials and Methods

In two patients of Tay-Sachs disease, MR and CT studies were conducted in the early phase (11 and 10 months of age, respectively) and one was followed-up with MR in the late phase at the age of 5 years and 8 months. Six MR studies on this disease (including 3 other cases documented in the literature) were reviewed and correlated with the pathological phases of this disease.


MRI findings drastically changed during the phases of disease process in one case. In the early phase, T2-weighted MR images demonstrated hyperintensity in both basal ganglia and thalamus. MR images obtained in the late phase demonstrated markedly advanced brain atrophy and diffuse white matter lesions, which were hyperintense on the T2-weighted images. T1-weighted images exhibited hyperintensity in the basal ganglia, thalamus, and along the cortical layer of the cerebrum, which appeared to be hypointense on T2-weighted images.


MR was apparently superior to CT in clearly delineating lesions of this disease. These abnormal signal intensities in the late phase may reflect the pathological findings, marked accumulation of GM2 ganglioside in the basal ganglia and thalamus and along the cerebral gray matter.

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