Progression of putaminal degeneration in multiple system atrophy: a serial diffusion MR study

Neuroimage. 2006 May 15;31(1):240-5. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2005.12.006. Epub 2006 Jan 27.


By using diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), we have recently shown abnormal diffusivity in the putamen of patients with the Parkinson variant of multiple system atrophy (MSA-P) which also correlated with disease severity, indicating the capability of putaminal diffusivity to serve as a marker for disease progression. We therefore performed a serial DWI study in 10 patients with MSA-P compared to 10 patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) to evaluate the dynamic evolution of diffusion properties in the basal ganglia including putamen, caudate nucleus and globus pallidum by means of the trace of the diffusion tensor (Trace(D)). For comparison, we have also analyzed the frequency and semiquantitative grading of MSA-P-related structural changes on conventional MRI including putaminal atrophy, lateral hyperintense margination of the putamen and putaminal signal hypointensity relative to the globus pallidum on T2 MR images. None of the Trace(D) values in the basal ganglia regions in the PD group changed significantly at follow-up compared to baseline. In MSA-P, a significant increase of the Trace(D) was found in the putamen, which correlated with motor progression as assessed by the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). No significant change of any of the abnormal putaminal findings on routine MRI was obtained. We suggest that abnormal diffusivity in the putamen is sensitive to change over time in MSA-P and correlates with motor progression indicating that DWI may serve to monitor disease progression in MSA-P in an objective and quantitative manner.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Caudate Nucleus / pathology
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Globus Pallidus / pathology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple System Atrophy / diagnosis*
  • Nerve Degeneration / diagnosis*
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Putamen / pathology*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Striatonigral Degeneration / diagnosis*