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Front Neurol. 2019 Feb 12;10:100. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2019.00100. eCollection 2019.

Combined Visualization of Nigrosome-1 and Neuromelanin in the Substantia Nigra Using 3T MRI for the Differential Diagnosis of Essential Tremor and de novo Parkinson's Disease.

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Department of Neurology, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.
Department of Radiology, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.
Shanghai Medical Imaging Institute, Shanghai, China.
Department of Radiology, Xiamen Branch, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Xiamen, China.
Department of Neurology, Xiamen Branch, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Xiamen, China.
MR Research, GE Healthcare, Shanghai, China.
Department of Biostatistics, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.


Differentiating early-stage Parkinson's disease (PD) from essential tremor (ET) remains challenging. In the current study, we aimed to evaluate whether visual analyses of neuromelanin-sensitive magnetic resonance imaging (NM-MRI) combined with nigrosome-1 (N1) imaging using quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) in the substantia nigra (SN) are of diagnostic value in the differentiation of de novo PD from untreated ET. Sixty-eight patients with de novo PD, 25 patients with untreated ET, and 34 control participants underwent NM-MRI and QSM. NM and N1 signals in the SN on MR images were visually evaluated using a 3-point ordinal scale. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses were performed to determine the diagnostic values of the visual ratings of NM and N1. The diagnostic values of the predicted probabilities were calculated via logistic regression analysis using the combination of NM and N1 visual ratings, as well as their quadratic items. The proportions of invisible NM and invisible N1 were significantly higher in the PD group than those in the ET and control groups (p < 0.001). The sensitivity/specificity for differentiating PD from ET was 0.882/0.800 for NM and 0.794/0.920 for N1, respectively. Combining the two biomarkers, the area under the curve (AUC) of the predicted probabilities was 0.935, and the sensitivity/specificity was 0.853/0.920 when the cutoff value was set to 0.704. Our findings demonstrate that visual analyses combing NM and N1 imaging in the SN may aid in differential diagnosis of PD and ET. Furthermore, our results suggest that patients with PD exhibit larger iron deposits in the SN than those with ET.


Parkinson's disease; QSM; essential tremor; neuromelanin; nigrosome-1; substantia nigra

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