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Yonago Acta Med. 2018 Sep 26;61(3):145-155. eCollection 2018 Sep.

Role of Neuroimaging on Differentiation of Parkinson's Disease and Its Related Diseases.

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Division of Radiology, Department of Pathophysiological and Therapeutic Science, School of Medicine, Tottori University Faculty of Medicine, Yonago 683-8504, Japan.


An accurate diagnosis of Parkinson's disease (PD) is a prerequisite for therapeutic management. In spite of recent advances in the diagnosis of parkinsonian disorders, PD is misdiagnosed in between 6 and 25% of patients, even in specialized movement disorder centers. Although the gold standard for the diagnosis of PD is a neuropathological assessment, neuroimaging has been playing an important role in the differential diagnosis of PD and is used for clinical diagnostic criteria. In clinical practice, differential diagnoses of PD include atypical parkinsonian syndromes such as dementia with Lewy bodies, multiple system atrophy, progressive supranuclear palsy, corticobasal degeneration, caused by a striatal dopamine deficiency following nigrostrial degeneration. PD may also be mimicked by syndromes not associated with a striatal dopamine deficiency such as essential tremor, drug-induced parkinsonism, and vascular parkinsonism. Moreover, difficulties are associated with the clinical differentiation of patients with parkinsonism from those with Alzheimer's disease. In this review, we summarize the typical imaging findings of PD and its related diseases described above using morphological imaging modalities (conventional MR imaging and neuromelanin MR imaging) and functional imaging modalities (99mTc-ethyl cysteinate dimer perfusion single photon emission computed tomography, 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine myocardial scintigraphy, and 123I-FP-CIT dopamine transporter single photon emission computed tomography) that are clinically available in most hospitals. We also attempt to provide a diagnostic approach for the differential diagnosis of PD and its related diseases in clinical practice.


123I-FP-CIT dopamine transporter imaging; 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine myocardial scintigraphy; Parkinson’s disease; atypical parkinsonian syndrome; neuromelanin-sensitive MR imaging


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