Brain SPECT imaging in multiple system atrophy

R. Cilia, G. Marotta, R. Benti, G. Pezzoli, A. Antonini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Clinical diagnosis of multiple system atrophy (MSA) relays on signs and symptoms that are often difficult to identify particularly at early stage. Indeed neuropathological studies have demonstrated that MSA is the first cause of misdiagnosis in a cohort of patients presenting with parkinsonian features. Dopamine transporter imaging (DAT) shows striatal decrements in both MSA and Parkinson's disease (PD) making it not sensitive for differential diagnosis. Studies of dopamine D2 receptors with IBZM may help revealing striatal degeneration but a large overlap exist particularly if PD patients with advanced disease are included. We have measured brain flow with technetium-99m ethyl cysteinate dimer (ECD-SPECT) in 36 MSA patients and compared it with 43 PD and 39 age-matched controls. Using Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM99) we found areas of significant reduced perfusion in the striatum, brain stem and cerebellum in MSA compared to the other groups. We believe that ECD-SPECT imaging may offer significant advantages compared to other imaging techniques in the assessment of neuronal degeneration in MSA and may help the clinician in the diagnostic characterization of patients presenting with atypical parkinsonism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1635-1645
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


  • Brain imaging
  • Multiple System Atrophy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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