A quantitative evaluation of magnetic resonance image signal changes of the brain in chronic hepatic encephalopathy

Neil S. Norton, James R. McConnell, Rowen K Zetterman, Jorge F. Rodriguez-Sierra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


Hyperintensity in the basal ganglia of patients with serious liver disease is a common finding on T1-weighted magnetic resonance images. In this study, we used optical densitometry to quantitatively evaluate the hyperintense magnetic resonance image signal changes in the various regions of the brain of patients with chronic hepatic encephalopathy. The incidence and morphological distribution of the magnetic resonance signal changes were evaluated from T1-weighted magnetic resonance images of the brain from seven non-alcoholic patients and six healthy controls. Significant differences (p<0.05) between the patient group and controls were found in the limbic system (hippocampus, temporal lobe, cingulate gyrus, and fornix), extrapyramidal system and associated myelinated pathways (lentiform nucleus, tectum, tegmentum, cerebral peduncles, internal capsule and the corpus callosum). No measurable differences were observed in the frontal, parietal, and occipital cortex, or the dorsomedial thalamus. The presence of the high signal intensity changes on T1-weighted magnetic resonance image suggests that characteristic alterations occur in functional regions of the brain in chronic hepatic encephalopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)764-770
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1994



  • Basal ganglia
  • Hepatic encephalopathy
  • Image analysis
  • Limbic system
  • Magnetic resonance imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology

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