Objective: The pathological changes in Parkinson disease begin in the brainstem; reach the limbic system and ultimately spread to the cerebral cortex. In Parkinson disease (PD) patients, we evaluated the alteration of cingulate fibers, which comprise part of the limbic system, by using diffusional kurtosis imaging (DKI).
Methods: Seventeen patients with PD and 15 age-matched healthy controls underwent DKI with a 3-T MR imager. Diffusion tensor tractography images of the anterior and posterior cingulum were generated. The mean kurtosis (MK) and conventional diffusion tensor parameters measured along the images in the anterior and posterior cingulum were compared between the groups. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was also performed to compare the diagnostic abilities of the MK and conventional diffusion tensor parameters.
Results: The MK and fractional anisotropy (FA) in the anterior cingulum were significantly lower in PD patients than in healthy controls. The area under the ROC curve was 0.912 for MK and 0.747 for FA in the anterior cingulum. MK in the anterior cingulum had the best diagnostic performance (mean cutoff, 0.967; sensitivity, 0.87; specificity, 0.94).
Conclusions: DKI can detect alterations of the anterior cingulum in PD patients more sensitively than can conventional diffusion tensor imaging. Use of DKI can be expected to improve the ability to diagnose PD.
Keywords: Cingulate fiber; Diffusion tensor imaging; Diffusional kurtosis imaging; Parkinson disease; Tract-specific analysis.