• MIBG scintigraphy;
  • diffusion weighted imaging;
  • Parkinson's disease;
  • multiple system atrophy


Both diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) of the basal ganglia and meta-iodobenzylguanidin (MIBG) scintigraphy of the heart have been reported useful in the differential diagnosis of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) vs. the parkinson variant of multiple system atrophy (MSA-P). Their diagnostic value, however, has never been directly compared in patients with parkinsonism and autonomic dysfunction. We have studied 9 patients with PD and 9 patients with MSA-P matched for age and disease severity. Regional trace of the diffusion tensor values were determined in the putamina. Cardiac MIBG uptake was quantified by comparing regions of interest over heart and mediastinum Heart/Mediastinum (H/M) ratio. Furthermore, all patients underwent tilt testing. PD patients showed significantly lower H/M ratios than normal controls; however, there was considerable overlap between the two patient groups. We did not detect any significant differences of blood pressure response to passive tilt between the two patient groups. Sensitivity of MIBG scintigraphy versus DWI for the differentiation of MSA-P from PD was 55.6% vs. 100%, specificity 88.8% vs. 100%, and area under the curve 0.802 vs. 1.000. Our data suggest that DWI is superior to both tilt table testing and MIBG scintigraphy in the differential diagnosis of PD versus MSA-P. © 2007 Movement Disorder Society