European Journal of Anatomy

Official Journal of The Spanish Society of Anatomy
Cover Volume 20 - Number 4
Eur J Anat, 20 (4): 371-376 (2016)

Atrophy of the corpus callosum in heavy alcoholic patients

Taysa Benítez-Delgado1, Daniel Martínez-Martínez1, Candelaria Martín-González1, Lucía Romero-Acevedo1, J.R. Muñiz-Montes2, Geraldine Quintero-Platt1, Jorge A. López-García3, Emilio González-Reimers1

1Servicio de Medicina Interna, Hospital Universitario de Canarias, Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain), 2Servicio de Radiodiagnóstico, Hospital Universitario de Canarias, Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain), 3IMETISA-Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Canarias, Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)

ABSTRACT Atrophy of the corpus callosum among alcoholics was classically restricted to patients affected by Marchiafava-Bignami (MB) disease. It was further observed in patients with thiamine and/or niacin deficiency, or in alcoholics who had consumed alcoholic beverages for a long period. A 42-year-old alcoholic patient was admitted with a full-blown alcohol withdrawal syndrome. After recovery, unstable gait and marked pyramidal signs were observed. A brain magnetic resonance was performed, which revealed corpus callosum atrophy. At discharge the patient was placed under ambulatory care. Nevertheless, he never attended his appointments and he was readmitted several times with withdrawal syndrome. Repeated MRI studies showed no remarkable changes besides progressive atrophy of the corpus callosum. Indeed, the area of corpus callosum was markedly reduced when compared with that of 20 alcoholics and 5 further patients with Wernicke´s encephalopathy. Therefore, the clinical picture is consistent with classic MB disease, and the more severe atrophy than that observed in the remaining alcoholics suggests that additional mechanisms may play a role in MB disease.

Keywords: Marchiafava-Bignami, Alcoholism, Corpus callosum atrophy

European Journal of anatomy
ISSN 2340-311X (Online)