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Eur Radiol. 2011 Oct;21(10):2202-10. doi: 10.1007/s00330-011-2158-7. Epub 2011 May 25.

A novel tract imaging technique of the brainstem using phase difference enhanced imaging: normal anatomy and initial experience in multiple system atrophy.

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Department of Radiology, University of Occupational and Environmental Health School of Medicine, Kitakyushu, 807-8555, Japan.



To develop a new tract imaging technique for visualising small fibre tracts of the brainstem and for detecting the abnormalities in multiple system atrophy of the cerebellar type (MSA-C) using a phase difference enhanced (PADRE) imaging technique, in which the phase difference between the target and surrounding tissue is selectively enhanced.


Two neuroradiologists compared the high-spatial-resolution PADRE imaging, which was acquired from six healthy volunteers, three patients with MSA-C, and 7 patients with other types of neurodegenerative diseases involving the brainstem or cerebellum.


Various fine fibre tracts in the brainstem, the superior and inferior cerebellar peduncles, medial lemniscus, spinothalamic tract, medial longitudinal fasciculus, central tegmental tract, corticospinal tract and transverse pontine fibres, were identified on PADRE imaging. PADRE imaging from MSA-C demonstrated the disappearance of transverse pontine fibres and significant atrophy of the inferior cerebellar peduncles, while the superior cerebellar peduncles were intact. PADRE imaging also demonstrated that the transverse pontine fibres and inferior cerebellar peduncle were not involved in the other neurodegenerative diseases.


PADRE imaging can offer a new form of tract imaging of the brainstem and may have the potential to reinforce the clinical utility of MRI in differentiating MSA from other conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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