Subcortical brain atrophy in Gulf War Illness

Subcortical brain atrophy in Gulf War Illness Gulf War Illness (GWI) is a multisystem disorder that has affected a substantial number of veterans who served in the 1990–1991 Gulf War. The brain is prominently affected, as manifested by the presence of neurological, cognitive and mood symptoms. Although brain dysfunction in GWI has been well documented (EBioMedicine 12:127–32, 2016), abnormalities in brain structure have been debated. Here we report a substantial (~10%) subcortical brain atrophy in GWI comprising mainly the brainstem, cerebellum and thalamus, and, to a lesser extent, basal ganglia, amygdala and diencephalon. The highest atrophy was observed in the brainstem, followed by left cerebellum and right thalamus, then by right cerebellum and left thalamus. These findings indicate graded atrophy of regions anatomically connected through the brainstem via the crossed superior cerebellar peduncle (left cerebellum → right thalamus, right cerebellum → left thalamus). This distribution of atrophy, together with the observed systematic reduction in volume of other subcortical areas (basal ganglia, amygdala and diencephalon), resemble the distribution of atrophy seen in toxic encephalopathy (Am J Neuroradiol 13:747–760, 1992) caused by a variety of substances, including organic solvents. Given the potential exposure of Gulf War veterans to “a wide range of biological and chemical agents including sand, smoke from oil-well fires, paints, solvents, insecticides, petroleum fuels and their combustion products, organophosphate nerve agents, pyridostigmine bromide, …” (Institute of Medicine National Research Council. Gulf War and Health: Volume 1. Depleted uranium, pyridostigmine bromide, sarin, and vaccines. National Academies Press, Washington DC, 2000), it is reasonable to suppose that such exposures, alone or in combination, could underlie the subcortical atrophy observed. Experimental Brain Research Springer Journals

Loading next page...
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Copyright © 2017 by Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany (outside the USA)
Biomedicine; Neurosciences; Neurology
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site


You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.

DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 12 million articles from more than
10,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Unlimited reading

Read as many articles as you need. Full articles with original layout, charts and figures. Read online, from anywhere.

Stay up to date

Keep up with your field with Personalized Recommendations and Follow Journals to get automatic updates.

Organize your research

It’s easy to organize your research with our built-in tools.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

Monthly Plan

  • Read unlimited articles
  • Personalized recommendations
  • No expiration
  • Print 20 pages per month
  • 20% off on PDF purchases
  • Organize your research
  • Get updates on your journals and topic searches


Start Free Trial

14-day Free Trial

Best Deal — 39% off

Annual Plan

  • All the features of the Professional Plan, but for 39% off!
  • Billed annually
  • No expiration
  • For the normal price of 10 articles elsewhere, you get one full year of unlimited access to articles.



billed annually
Start Free Trial

14-day Free Trial