Magnetic resonance imaging-based morphometry and landmark correlation of basal ganglia nuclei

Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2002 Oct;144(10):959-69; discussion 968-9. doi: 10.1007/s00701-002-0982-x.


The two principle targets for deep brain stimulation or lesioning in patients with Parkinson's disease, the subthalamic nucleus (STN) and the globus pallidus internus (GPi), reveal a high degree of individual variability which is relevant to the planning of stereotactic operations. Both nuclei can clearly be delineated in T2WI spin echo MRI which was acquired under stereotactic conditions in general anesthesia before surgery. Such images of 35 patients served for retrospective morphometric analysis of different basal ganglia nuclei (STN, GP, red nucleus, and substantia nigra) and several anatomical landmarks (anterior and posterior commissure, maximum width of third ventricle, brain length and width). The average AC-PC distance was 25.74 mm (range 21 to 29 mm) and is in agreement with previous studies. On average, the center of the STN was located 12.65 mm (+/-1.3) lateral from the midline as determined 3 mm ventral to the intercommissural plane. The average width of the third ventricle was 7.05 mm (+/-2.41). The width of the third ventricle correlated with the laterality of the STN (r(right)=.78; r(left)=.83) and GP (r(right)=.76; r(left)=.68). Although to a lesser extent, significant correlations were also observed between the laterality of the STN and brain width, improving prediction of STN laterality by multiple linear regression analysis (r(right)=.82; r(left)=.87). Similarly, the laterality of GP correlated with brain width. In addition, gender-specific differences were detected. The STN and GP was located farther lateral in males which may be due to overall brain anatomy as gender-specific differences were also observed for brain width and length and AC-PC distance. MRI-based in vivo-localization of different basal ganglia nuclei extend statistical information from common histological brain atlases which are based on a limited number of brains. The correlations observed between different basal ganglia nuclei, i.e. the STN and GPi, and anatomical landmarks may be useful for surgical planning.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Basal Ganglia / pathology*
  • Basal Ganglia / physiopathology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy*
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Female
  • Globus Pallidus / pathology
  • Globus Pallidus / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Red Nucleus / pathology
  • Red Nucleus / physiopathology
  • Reference Values
  • Stereotaxic Techniques*
  • Substantia Nigra / pathology
  • Substantia Nigra / physiopathology
  • Subthalamic Nucleus / pathology
  • Subthalamic Nucleus / physiopathology