Deep gray matter hypointensity patterns with aging in healthy adults: MR imaging at 1.5 T

Radiology. 1991 Dec;181(3):715-9. doi: 10.1148/radiology.181.3.1947087.


The authors studied a carefully screened pool of healthy adult volunteers aged 20-80 years, so that a normal brain deep gray matter hypointensity map, as detectable on routine spin-echo magnetic resonance (MR) images, could be formulated. Previous MR imaging studies about brain iron reported findings either in children only or in adults, all of whom had suspected central nervous system disease. The results showed that (a) areas of hypointensity in the red nucleus, substantia nigra, and dentate nucleus were relatively unchanged throughout all age groups; (b) the globus pallidus showed an increased volume of hypointensity in the middle-aged and elderly population compared with that in the young adult; (c) the putamen was hypointense only in the elderly age group; and (d) hypointensity was never seen in the thalamus or caudate nucleus in any subject, regardless of age. In cases in which these patterns are not observed in patients suspected to have central nervous system disease, the presence of such disease should be considered.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / pathology*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values