BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Progressive changes in the substantia nigra pars compacta and locus ceruleus of patients with Parkinson disease and Alzheimer disease visualized by neuromelanin MRI and cardiac postganglionic sympathetic nerve function on 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine scintigraphy have not been fully evaluated. We compared the diagnostic value of these modalities among patients with early Parkinson disease, late Parkinson disease, and Alzheimer disease. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We compared contrast ratios of signal intensity in medial and lateral regions of the substantia nigra pars compacta and locus ceruleus with those of the tegmentum of the midbrain and the pons, respectively, by use of neuromelanin MRI in patients with early Parkinson disease (n = 13), late Parkinson disease (n = 31), Alzheimer disease (n = 6), and age-matched healthy control subjects (n = 20). We calculated heart-to-mediastinum ratios on 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine scintigrams after setting regions of interest on the left cardiac ventricle and upper mediastinum. RESULTS: The signal intensity of the lateral substantia nigra pars compacta on neuromelanin MRI was significantly reduced in early and late Parkinson disease, and that of the medial substantia nigra pars compacta was gradually and stage-dependently reduced in Parkinson disease. The signal intensity of the locus ceruleus was obviously reduced in late Parkinson disease. Signal reduction was not significant in the substantia nigra pars compacta and locus ceruleus of patients with Alzheimer disease. The heart-to-mediastinum ratio on 123I- metaiodobenzylguanidine scintigrams was stage-dependently reduced in Parkinson disease and normal in Alzheimer disease. The signal intensity ratios in substantia nigra pars compacta and locus ceruleus on neuromelanin MRI positively correlated with the heart-tomediastinum ratio on 123I- metaiodobenzylguanidine scintigrams. CONCLUSIONS: Both neuromelanin MRI and 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine scintigraphy can help to evaluate disease progression in Parkinson disease and are useful for differentiating Parkinson disease from Alzheimer disease.
Miyoshi, F., Ogawa, T., Kitao, S. I., Kitayama, M., Shinohara, Y., Takasugi, M., … Kaminou, T. (2013). Evaluation of Parkinson disease and Alzheimer disease with the use of neuromelanin MR imaging and123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine scintigraphy. American Journal of Neuroradiology, 34(11), 2113–2118. https://doi.org/10.3174/ajnr.A3567