Brain MR Contribution to the Differential Diagnosis of Parkinsonian Syndromes: An Update

Giovanni Rizzo, Stefano Zanigni, Roberto De Blasi, Daniela Grasso, Davide Martino, Rodolfo Savica, Giancarlo Logroscino

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Brain magnetic resonance (MR) represents a useful and feasible tool for the differential diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. Conventional MR may reveal secondary forms of parkinsonism and may show peculiar brain alterations of atypical parkinsonian syndromes. Furthermore, advanced MR techniques, such as morphometric-volumetric analyses, diffusion-weighted imaging, diffusion tensor imaging, tractography, proton MR spectroscopy, and iron-content sensitive imaging, have been used to obtain quantitative parameters useful to increase the diagnostic accuracy. Currently, many MR studies have provided both qualitative and quantitative findings, reflecting the underlying neuropathological pattern of the different degenerative parkinsonian syndromes. Although the variability in the methods and results across the studies limits the conclusion about which technique is the best, specific radiologic phenotypes may be identified. Qualitative/quantitative MR changes in the substantia nigra do not discriminate between different parkinsonisms. In the absence of extranigral abnormalities, the diagnosis of PD is more probable, whereas basal ganglia changes (mainly in the putamen) suggest the diagnosis of an atypical parkinsonian syndrome. In this context, changes in pons, middle cerebellar peduncles, and cerebellum suggest the diagnosis of MSA, in midbrain and superior cerebellar peduncles the diagnosis of PSP, and in whole cerebral hemispheres (mainly in frontoparietal cortex with asymmetric distribution) the diagnosis of Corticobasal Syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2983638
JournalParkinson's Disease
Volume2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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