Iron metabolism and its detection through MRI in parkinsonian disorders: a systematic review

Neurol Sci. 2017 Dec;38(12):2095-2101. doi: 10.1007/s10072-017-3099-y. Epub 2017 Sep 2.


Iron deposition in the brain normally increase with age, but its accumulation in certain regions is observed in a number of neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson's disease (PD) and other parkinsonisms. Whether iron overload leads to dopaminergic neuronal death in the SN of PD patients or is instead simply a by-product of the neurodegenerative progression is still yet to be ascertained. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive method to assess brain iron content in PD patients. In PD, accurate radiologic visualization of basal ganglia is required. Deep gray matter nuclei are well presented in T2- and T2*-weighted images. T2*-weighted gradient-echo (GRE) is widely used to assess calcifications and also for iron detection. On the other hand, new methods specifically designed for detecting iron-induced susceptibility differences can be further improved by sequences like susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI). In the present review, we aim to summarize the available data on brain iron deposition in PD.

Keywords: Iron; Magnetic resonance imaging; Parkinsonian disorders; Parkinson’s disease.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / diagnostic imaging*
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / metabolism*


  • Iron