, Volume 59, Issue 7, pp 691–698 | Cite as

White matter microstructure damage in tremor-dominant Parkinson’s disease patients

  • ChunYan Luo
  • Wei Song
  • Qin Chen
  • Jing Yang
  • QiYong Gong
  • Hui-Fang Shang
Functional Neuroradiology



Resting tremor is one of the cardinal motor features of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Several lines of evidence suggest resting tremor may have different underlying pathophysiological processes from those of bradykinesia and rigidity. The current study aims to identify white matter microstructural abnormalities associated with resting tremor in PD.


We recruited 60 patients with PD (30 with tremor-dominant PD and 30 with nontremor-dominant PD) and 26 normal controls. All participants underwent clinical assessment and diffusion tensor MRI. We used tract-based spatial statistics to investigate white matter integrity across the entire white matter tract skeleton.


Compared with both healthy controls and the nontremor-dominant PD patients, the tremor-dominant PD patients were characterized by increased mean diffusivity (MD) and axial diffusivity (AD) along multiple white matter tracts, mainly involving the cerebello-thalamo-cortical (CTC) pathway. The mean AD value in clusters with significant difference was correlated with resting tremor score in the tremor-dominant PD patients. There was no significant difference between the nontremor-dominant PD patients and controls.


Our results support the notion that resting tremor in PD is a distinct condition in which significant microstructural white matter changes exist and provide evidence for the involvement of the CTC in tremor genesis of PD.


Parkinson’s disease Tremor-dominant type Diffusion tensor imaging White matter integrity 


Compliance with ethical standards


This study was funded by the National Science Fund of China (Grant 81571247).

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 ethics committee of West China Hospital 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.

Supplementary material

234_2017_1846_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2.9 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 2956 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • ChunYan Luo
    • 1
  • Wei Song
    • 1
  • Qin Chen
    • 1
  • Jing Yang
    • 1
  • QiYong Gong
    • 2
  • Hui-Fang Shang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurology, West China HospitalSichuan UniversityChengduChina
  2. 2.Huaxi MR Research Center, Department of Radiology, West China HospitalSichuan UniversityChengduChina

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