Correlations between the trigeminal nerve microstructural changes and the trigeminal-pontine angle features

  • Huize Pang
  • Hao Sun
  • Guoguang FanEmail author
Original Article - Brain Tumors
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Brain tumors



Morphological and microstructural changes of the trigeminal nerve due to neurovascular compression (NVC) have been reported in primary trigeminal neuralgia (PTN) patients. This investigation was to examine the relationship between the trigeminal-pontine angle and nerve microstructural changes.


Twenty-five patients underwent microvascular decompression (MVD) for trigeminal neuralgia, and 25 age- and sex-matched controls were studied. The two groups underwent high-resolution three-dimensional MRI and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Bilateral trigeminal-pontine angle, cross-sectional area of cerebellopontine angle (CPA) cistern, and the length of trigeminal nerve were evaluated. The mean values of fractional anisotropy and apparent diffusion coefficient at the site of NVC were also measured. Correlation analyses were performed for the trigeminal-pontine angle and the diffusion metrics (FA and ADC) in PTN patients.


The mean trigeminal-pontine angle and FA value on the affected side was significantly smaller than the unaffected side and the control group (p < 0.001), while the mean ADC value was significantly increased (p < 0.01). When taking the conflicting vessel types into consideration, the angle affected by the superior cerebellar artery (SCA) was statistically sharper than when affected by other vessels (p < 0.01). However, there were no significant changes in the area of the CPA cistern or the length of the trigeminal nerve between the groups. Correlation analyses showed that the trigeminal-pontine angle was positively correlated with FA and negatively correlated with ADC.


A sharp trigeminal-pontine angle may increase the chance of NVC and exacerbate nerve degeneration, which may be one of the supplementary factors that contribute to the pathogenesis of trigeminal neuralgia.


Primary trigeminal neuralgia 3D-FIESTA DTI Trigeminal-pontine angle 



apparent diffusion coefficient


anterior inferior cerebellar artery


cerebellopontine angle


diffusion tensor imaging


fractional anisotropy


healthy control


microvascular decompression


neurovascular compression


posterior inferior cerebellar artery


primary trigeminal neuralgia


root entry zone


region of interest


superior cerebellar artery


vertebral artery


three-dimensional fast-imaging employing steady-state acquisition


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of RadiologyThe First Hospital of China Medical UniversityShenyangChina
  2. 2.Department of Clinical EpidemiologyThe First Hospital of China Medical UniversityShenyangChina

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