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Topography of putaminal degeneration in multiple system atrophy: A diffusion magnetic resonance study



There is neuropathologic evidence that, in early stages of the Parkinson variant of multiple system atrophy (MSA-P), the putamen shows a distinct topographical pathology affecting predominantly the dorsolateral and caudal regions while leaving the rostral to midparts almost intact. We investigated the topographic profile of putaminal degeneration in MSA-P patients in vivo by means of diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), which has been shown to reveal abnormalities in the basal ganglia of patients with MSA-P compared to patients with PD and healthy controls. For this purpose, regional trace of the diffusion tensor (rTrace(D)) values were determined in the entire, anterior, and posterior putamen in 15 patients with probable MSA-P, in 20 patients with PD, and in 11 healthy volunteers matched for age and disease duration. MSA-P patients had significantly higher rTrace(D) values in entire, anterior, and posterior putamen compared to both controls and PD patients. Trace(D) values were significantly higher in the posterior compared to the anterior putamen in the MSA-P group. There were no significant differences between posterior and anterior putamen in both the control and PD group. Our study demonstrates prominent involvement of the posterior putamen in early disease stages of MSA-P in vivo by assessing putaminal diffusivity with the help of DWI. © 2006 Movement Disorder Society