Cerebral Peduncle Angle: An Objective Criterion for Assessing Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Richardson Syndrome

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2015 Aug;205(2):386-91. doi: 10.2214/AJR.14.12724.


Objective: Several criteria for time-consuming volumetric measurements of progressive supranuclear palsy Richardson syndrome subtype (PSP-RS) have been proposed. These often require image reconstruction in different planes for proper assessment. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the cerebral peduncle angle as a simple and reproducible measure of midbrain atrophy in patients with PSP-RS.

Materials and methods: The records of 15 patients with PSP-RS were retrospectively identified. The records of 31 age-matched healthy control subjects, 15 patients with multiple-system atrophy, and 22 patients with Parkinson disease were included for comparison. Two neuroradiologists individually assessed these studies for midbrain atrophy by evaluating the cerebral peduncle angle, that is, the angle between the two cerebral peduncles.

Results: The cerebral peduncle angle measurements were 62.1° (SD, 6.8°) in PSP-RS patients, 51.2° (SD, 10.1°) in healthy control subjects, 55.7° (SD, 11.6°) in patients with multiple-system atrophy, and 53.7° (SD, 8.5°) in patients with Parkinson disease. A statistically significant difference was found in the cerebral peduncle angle measurements (observer 1, p = 0.015; observer 2, p = 0.004) between the PSP-RS patients and the other subgroups. Bland-Altman analysis showed a bias of 0.6° (95% limits of agreement, 6.9°, -5.8°), and intraobserver variability analysis showed a bias of 0.5° (4.1°, -3°).

Conclusion: The cerebral peduncle angle is a simple, easy-to-calculate, and reproducible measure of midbrain atrophy. It is a useful criterion for differentiating patients with PSP-RS from healthy persons and from patients with multiple-system atrophy or Parkinson disease.

Keywords: Richardson syndrome; atrophy; cerebral peduncle; neurodegenerative disease; progressive supranuclear palsy.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cerebral Peduncle / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple System Atrophy
  • Phenotype
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / pathology*