Neuromelanin Imaging in Parkinson Disease
Neuromelanin, a black pigment present in dopaminergic and noradrenergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) and locus ceruleus (LC), has paramagnetic T1-shortening effects. Conventional magnetic resonance imaging (cMRI) techniques fail to depict the contrast generated by neuromelanin, but there are some neuromelanin-sensitive techniques that allow direct visualization of the SNc and LC as evident high-signal areas. In Parkinson disease, neuromelanin-related signals from the SNc and LC are attenuated suggesting neuronal loss in both these nuclei. In other neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders, signal alterations of SNc and/or LC can also be shown. Neuromelanin-sensitive MRI is a promising technique to assess changes in these nuclei that occur in Parkinson disease and other related disorders.
KeywordsParkinson Disease Multiple System Atrophy Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Conventional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
This work was partly supported by a grant-in-aid for Advanced Medical Science Research from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan.
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