• diffusion tensor imaging;
  • progressive supranuclear palsy;
  • basal ganglia



To determine whether progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is associated with specific diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) patterns of diffusivity, anisotropy, and coherence in functionally relevant brain areas.

Materials and Methods:

In all, 17 PSP patients and 17 controls were scanned using a 3 T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner. Patients were assessed in the off-medication condition using the Hoehn and Yahr staging and the United Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, motor subscale (UPDRS-III). Diffusion information were analyzed in relation to disease severity and subtypes.


Numerous changes in diffusion properties were identified in the subcortical areas. In the midbrain, fractional anisotropy (FA) decreased and MD (mean diffusivity) increased with disease progression. UPDRS-III scores correlated positively with both FA in the caudate and MD in the pons. DTI analysis of disease subtypes demonstrated significant differences between PSP-Parkinsonism and Steele-Richardson-Olszewski syndrome in axial diffusivity values in the putamen and globus pallidus, as well as in intervoxel diffusion coherence values in the middle cerebellar peduncle.


Our findings, cautiously interpreted, demonstrate the advantage of using a functional imaging technique to aid in the specificity of defining more precisely the pathological processes taking place in white and gray matter regions in PSP. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2010;32:69–75. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.