Bidirectionality of the dentato-rubro-thalamo-cortical tract allows concurrent hypoperfusion in ipsilateral cerebellum and contralateral cerebral hemisphere: A case report

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The brain circulation of the dentato-rubro-thalamo-cortical tract (DRTT) has been reported for decade, but is rarely observed using nuclear medicine imaging tools, to analyze a patient with midbrain hemiatrophy syndrome. We present a case that revealed notable interruption in the middle of the DRTT. Finding out whether the superior cerebellar peduncle of the midbrain was injured was a decisive element for developing bidirectional effect of DRTT.

Patient concerns

A 34-year-old right-handed female presented with progressive weakness and bradykinesia in the left-sided limbs for about 6 months. She had difficulty with hand dexterity for activities of daily life and general tasks. She reported poor balance during walking and sitting. Muscle strength was 3 in the left hand and 4 in the foot due to atrophy of left limbs. The circumference of 10 cm proximally/distally from the lateral epicondyle of the humerus was 25.7/23.8 cm at right and 24.2/20.8 cm at left in the upper limbs, and 15 cm proximally/distally from the lateral joint space was 42.1/35.0 cm at right and 43/30.8 cm at left in the lower limbs. The brain magnetic resonance imaging study revealed a small-sized right midbrain.


Based on the distinct features of limbs atrophy and the locations of the lesions on the magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, the patient was diagnosed with midbrain hemiatrophy syndrome.


The patient was only willing to accept physical and occupational training programs at our outpatient clinic.


We utilized serial anatomic and functional neuroimaging of the brain to survey the neurologic deficit. Brain perfusion single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) showed hypoperfusion over the left fronto-parietal regions, left anterior temporal region, and left occipital region, and also the left striatum and right cerebellum. Symptoms were gradually recovered with rehabilitation, and he was transferred to a rehabilitation facility on hospital day 40.


This is the first report to demonstrate concurrent hypoperfusion of ipsilateral cerebellum and contralateral cerebral hemisphere observed on SPECT images in a case of midbrain hemiatrophy syndrome. In our case, with midbrain hemiatrophy syndrome could be explained as mutual direction effect of DRTT.

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