A magnetization transfer study of mild and advanced Parkinson’s disease


N. Tambasco, Clinica Neurologica, Azienda Ospedaliera – Università di Perugia, S. Andrea delle Fratte, 06156 Perugia, Italy (tel.: +39 075 5784233; fax: +39 075 5784229; e-mail: n.tambasco@libero.it).


Background and purpose:  Magnetization transfer ratio (MTR) technique has identified brain changes in grey and white matter in Parkinson’s disease (PD), even in the early phase. However, how these tissue changes differ along the course of the illness is still unclear. This study was aimed at investigating how MTR values change from mild PD (PD1) to patients with advanced PD (PD2).

Methods:  We measured MTR values by region of interest, in 11 PD1, 11 PD2 and 10 healthy age-matched subjects.

Results:  Compared with controls, patients with PD1 exhibited a significant MTR reduction in substantia nigra pars compacta, substantia nigra pars reticulata, putamen, periventricular white matter and parietal white matter. In addition to the changes observed in PD1, the PD2 group exhibited a significant MTR reduction in caudate, pons, frontal white matter and lateral thalamus.

Conclusion:  These results suggest that MTR might reflect morphological changes induced by the disease in distinct brain areas at different stages.