MR imaging of Kallmann syndrome, a genetic disorder of neuronal migration affecting the olfactory and genital systems

C. L. Truwit, A. J. Barkovich, M. M. Grumbach, J. J. Martini, D. P. Bick, A. Ballabio

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PURPOSE: We report the MR findings in nine patients with clinical and laboratory evidence of Kallmann syndrome (KS), a genetic disorder of olfactory and gonadal development. In patients with KS, cells that normally express luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone fail to migrate from the medial olfactory placode along the terminalis nerves into the forebrain. In addition, failed neuronal migration from the lateral olfactory placode along the olfactory fila to the forebrain results in aplasia or hypoplasia of the olfactory bulbs and tracts. Patients with KS, therefore, suffer both reproductive and olfactory dysfunction. METHODS: Nine patients with KS underwent direct coronal MR of their olfactory regions in order to assess the olfactory sulci, bulbs, and tracts. A 10th patient had MR findings of KS, although the diagnosis is not yet confirmed by laboratory tests. RESULTS: Abnormalities of the olfactory system were identified in all patients. In particular, the anterior portions of the olfactory sulci were uniformly hypoplastic. The olfactory bulbs and tracts appeared hypoplastic or aplastic in all patients in whom the bulb/tract region was satisfactorily imaged. In two (possibly three) patients, prominent soft tissue in the region of the bulbs suggests radiographic evidence of neurons that have been arrested before migration. CONCLUSIONS: Previous investigators of patients with KS used axial MR images to demonstrate hypoplasia of the olfactory sulci but offered no assessment of the olfactory bulbs. In the present study we used coronal images to show hypoplasia of both olfactory sulci and bulbs. In addition, we found what we believe to be the radiologic correlate of arrested neuronal migration in KS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)827-838+852
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993


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