• progressive supranuclear palsy;
  • transcranial sonography

Background and purpose

Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) can occur with two main clinical presentations, classified as classical Richardson's syndrome (PSP-RS) and as PSP-parkinsonism (PSP-P), the most common atypical PSP variant. The differential diagnosis between them is challenging. Therefore, we studied different ultrasound markers by transcranial sonography in individuals with PSP-RS and PSP-P, to test their value in the diagnostic work up of these patients.


Transcranial sonography was performed in 21 patients with PSP-RS and 11 patients with PSP-P. Echogenic sizes of the substantia nigra (SN) and the lenticular nuclei (LN), as well as the width of the third ventricle, were measured.


Among the patients with PSP-RS and PSP-P, three (14%) and eight (73%) patients had a hyperechogenic SN (P = 0.020), respectively. Uni- or bilateral hyperechogenicity of the LN was observed in 67% and 36% of patients with PSP-RS and PSP-P, respectively (P = 0.101). Third ventricle was significantly wider in patients with PSP-RS (11.2 ± 2.3 mm) when compared with patients with PSP-P (7.5 ± 1.4 mm; P = 0.001).


Our data, possibly reflecting pathological differences, primarily contribute supporting the view that the neurodegenerative process differs in the two PSP variants.