Direct Visualization of Parkinson's Disease by In Vivo Human Brain Imaging Using 7.0T Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Neuroscience Research Institute, Gachon University of Medicine and Science, Namdong-gu, Incheon, South Korea.
Movement Disorders (Impact Factor: 5.63). 03/2011; 26(4):713-8. DOI: 10.1002/mds.23465
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder resulting from progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra (SN) pars compacta. Therefore, imaging of the SN has been regarded to hold greatest potential for use in the diagnosis of PD. At the 7.0T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), it is now possible to delineate clearly the shapes and boundaries of the SN. We scanned eight early and two advanced PD patients, along with nine age-matched control subjects, using a 7.0T MRI in an attempt to directly visualize the SN and quantify the differences in shape and boundaries of SN between PD subjects in comparison with the normal control subjects. In the normal controls, the boundaries between the SN and crus cerebri appear smooth, and clean "arch" shapes that stretch ventrally from posterior to anterior. In contrast, these smooth and clean arch-like boundaries were lost in PD subjects. The measured correlation analyses show that, in PD patients, there is age-dependent correlation and substantially stronger UPDRS motor score-dependent correlation. These results suggest that, by using 7.0T MRI, it appears possible to use these visible and distinctive changes in morphology as a diagnostic marker of PD.

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