Purpose: To present some unusual MR findings in a group of patients from the south-west of the Dominican Republic suffering from Pantothenate Kinase Associated Neurodegeneration (PKAN).
Materials and methods: Twenty patients and one preclinical case homozygous for the PANK2 mutation, 13 heterozygous gene carriers and 14 healthy volunteers were scanned prospectively using a 3 Tesla system.
Results: All patients showed the typical signal reduction within the globus pallidus and the substantia nigra. A surprising finding was the absence of the bright spot ("tiger's eye") in the medial part of the pallidum in 6 patients, but not in the preclinical case. Both fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) were increased with high significance in the globus pallidus, whereas a reduction of FA in the anterior parts of the internal capsule was accompanied by an elevation of MD.
Conclusion: Our findings support the hypothesis that the absence of the "tiger's eye" in PKAN might be secondary, probably caused by an increased accumulation of iron. This could artificially increase FA and MD values and change fiber tracking results. Except for the fronto-basal tracts, white matter was preserved well. This encouraging finding might support efforts to develop further therapeutic strategies in this devastating dystonia.
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