High resolution magnetic susceptibility mapping of the substantia nigra in Parkinson's disease

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2012 Jan;35(1):48-55. doi: 10.1002/jmri.22752. Epub 2011 Oct 10.


Purpose: To determine if tissue magnetic susceptibility is a more direct marker of tissue iron content than other MR markers of iron. This study presents the first quantitative, in vivo measurements of the susceptibility of the substantia nigra in patients with Parkinson's disease.

Materials and methods: Nine patients and 11 controls were studied at 7 Tesla. Susceptibility maps were created by inverting the filtered phase maps associated with T2* weighted images.

Results: On average, patients showed an increase in susceptibility of the pars compacta compared with controls, which correlates with the predicted increase in brain iron in Parkinson's disease. A rostral-caudal gradient in susceptibility was also observed in controls and patients.

Conclusion: Susceptibility mapping may provide a new tool for studying the development of Parkinson's disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Iron / chemistry
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology*
  • Substantia Nigra / pathology*


  • Iron