Substantia nigra echogenicity is normal in non-extrapyramidal cerebral disorders but increased in Parkinson's disease

J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2002 Feb;109(2):191-6. doi: 10.1007/s007020200015.


Transcranial sonography (TCS) revealed substantia nigra (SN) hyperechogenicity in idiopathic Parkinson's disease (IPD). To further evaluate specificity of this finding, we examined 30 IPD patients and 30 age-matched subjects with non-extrapyramidal cerebral disorders (NED). All IPD patients showed a SN hyperechogenicity, in 17 it was bilateral and in 13 unilateral. 7 NED patients had a SN hyperechogenicity, in all it was unilateral, confirming previous results in healthy subjects. Bilateral SN hyperechogenicity indicates IPD and normal SN echogenicity indicates NED. In 30% of patients TCS does not distinguish between IPD and NED. Data further support the assumption that bilateral SN hyperechogenicity is specific for IPD.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Caudate Nucleus / diagnostic imaging
  • Caudate Nucleus / physiopathology
  • Corpus Striatum / diagnostic imaging
  • Corpus Striatum / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Substantia Nigra / diagnostic imaging*
  • Substantia Nigra / physiopathology*
  • Thalamus / diagnostic imaging
  • Thalamus / physiopathology
  • Third Ventricle / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Transcranial