The pathophysiology of dysarthria can preferentially be studied in patients with the rare lacunar stroke syndrome of "isolated dysarthria".Methods
A single study was carried out on seven consecutive patients with sudden onset of isolated dysarthria due to single ischaemic lesion. The localisation of the lesion was identified using MRI. The corticolingual, cortico-orofacial, and corticospinal tract functions were investigated using transcranial magnetic stimulation. Corticopontocerebellar tract function was assessed using99m Tc hexamethylpropylene amine oxime-single photon emission computerised tomography (HMPAO-SPECT) in six patients. Sensory functions were evaluated clinically and by somatosensory evoked potentials.Results
Brain MRI showed the lesions to be located in the corona radiata (n=4) and the internal capsule (n=2). No morphological lesion was identified in one patient. Corticolingual tract function was impaired in all patients. In four patients with additional cortico-orofacial tract dysfunction, dysarthria did not differ from that in patients with isolated corticolingual tract dysfunction. Corticospinal tract functions were normal in all patients. HMPAO-SPECT showed no cerebellar diaschisis, suggesting unimpaired corticopontocerebellar tract function. Sensory functions were not affected.Conclusion
Interruption of the corticolingual pathways to the tongue is crucial in the pathogenesis of isolated dysarthria after extracerebellar lacunar stroke.