Brainstem pathology in spasmodic dysphonia

Kristina Simonyan, Christy L. Ludlow, Alexander O. Vortmeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Spasmodic dysphonia (SD) is a primary focal dystonia of unknown pathophysiology, characterized by involuntary spasms in the laryngeal muscles during speech production. We examined two rare cases of postmortem brainstem tissue from SD patients compared to four controls. In the SD patients, small clusters of inflammation were found in the reticular formation surrounding solitary tract, spinal trigeminal, and ambigual nuclei, inferior olive, and pyramids. Mild neuronal degeneration and depigmentation were observed in the substantia nigra and locus coeruleus. No abnormal protein accumulations and no demyelination or axonal degeneration were found. These neuropathological findings may provide insights into the pathophysiology of SD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-124
Number of pages4
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Laryngeal dystonia
  • Neuropathology


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