Background: As many as 20% of individuals with the clinical diagnosis of Parkinson's disease (PD) do not have the characteristic neuropathologic features of PD at post mortem. The striatonigral degeneration (SND) subtype of multiple system atrophy is one of the categories of pathology which may be incorrectly diagnosed as PD on the basis of clinical presentation. SND may be associated with increased iron deposition in the putamen which can be detected with magnetic resonance imaging.
Methods: We have estimated regional brain iron content in a patient with probable SND, using a novel imaging method developed in our laboratory, and have compared the results in this patient to those which we have previously reported in patients with PD and in age-matched controls.
Results: We observed that putamenal iron content was increased in our SND patient, beyond the 95% confidence limit for inclusion in the PD group, even when considering clinical severity. In contrast, pallidal and thalamic iron were within the PD range.
Conclusions: The demonstration of increased putamenal iron content may be a useful adjunctive investigative procedure in patients with suspected SND.