Quantifying brain iron deposition in patients with Parkinson's disease using quantitative susceptibility mapping, R2 and R2

Magn Reson Imaging. 2015 Jun;33(5):559-65. doi: 10.1016/j.mri.2015.02.021. Epub 2015 Feb 24.


Purpose: To evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of quantitative magnetic resonance (MR) iron mapping including R2, R2* and magnetic susceptibility to differentiate patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) from healthy controls.

Materials and methods: Thirty (30) healthy controls (HC) (64±7years old) and 20 patients with idiopathic PD (66±8years old) were studied using a 3T MR imaging scanner. R2 maps were generated from GRASE sequence while R2*, and quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) were obtained from a conventional multi-echo gradient-echo sequence. R2, R2* and relative susceptibility (Δχ) values of structures in the basal ganglia were measured for each patient and control. An analysis of sensitivity and specificity and unpaired t-test was applied to the two groups.

Results: A significant difference (p<0.05) was found for R2 and ∆χ values in the substantia nigra as a whole and in the pars compacta for PD patients. The R2* values were different significantly (p<0.05) only on the substantia nigra pars compacta. QSM presented the highest sensitivity and specificity to differentiate the two populations.

Conclusion: The QSM map was the most sensitive quantitative technique for detecting a significant increase of iron for PD. The highest significant difference between controls and patients was found in the substantia nigra pars compacta using QSM.

Keywords: Brain; Iron; Parkinson; QSM; Susceptibility magnetic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism*
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Iron