The role of substantia nigra sonography in the differentiation of Parkinson's disease and multiple system atrophy

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Abstract

Background: The differential diagnosis of Parkinson's disease (PD) and multiple system atrophy (MSA) remains a challenge, especially in the early stage. Here, we assessed the value of transcranial sonography (TCS) to discriminate non-tremor dominant (non-TD) PD from MSA with predominant parkinsonism (MSA-P). Methods: Eighty-six MSA-P patients and 147 age and gender-matched non-TD PD patients who had appropriate temporal acoustic bone windows were included in this study. All the patients were followed up for at least 2years to confirm the initial diagnosis. Patients with at least one substantia nigra (SN) echogenic size ≥18mm2 were classified as hyperechogenic, those with at least one SN echogenic size ≥25mm2 was defined as markedly hyperechogenic. Results: The frequency of SN hyperechogenicity in non-TD PD patients was significantly higher than that in MSA-P patients (74.1% vs. 38.4%, p< 0.001). SN hyperechogenicity discriminated non-TD PD from MSA-P with sensitivity of 74.1%, specificity of 61.6%, and positive predictive value of 76.8%. If marked SN hyperechogenicity was used as the cutoff value (≥ 25mm2), the sensitivity decreased to 46.3%, but the specificity and positive predictive value increased to 80.2 and 80.0%. Additionally, in those patients with SN hyperechogenicity, positive correlation between SN hyperechogenicity area and disease duration was found in non-TD PD rather than in MSA-P patients. In this context, among early-stage patients with disease duration ≤3years, the sensitivity, specificity and positive predictive value of SN hyperechogenicity further declined to 69.8%, 52.2%, and 66.7%, respectively. Conclusions: TCS could help discriminate non-TD PD from MSA-P in a certain extent, but the limitation was also obvious with relatively low specificity, especially in the early stage.

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Zhou, H. Y., Huang, P., Sun, Q., Du, J. J., Cui, S. S., Hu, Y. Y., … Chen, S. D. (2018). The role of substantia nigra sonography in the differentiation of Parkinson’s disease and multiple system atrophy. Translational Neurodegeneration, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40035-018-0121-0

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