BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Postmortem studies of advanced PD have revealed disease-related pathology in the thalamus with an apparent predilection for specific thalamic nuclei. In the present study, we used DTI to investigate in vivo the microstructural integrity of 6 thalamic regions in de novo patients with PD relative to healthy controls. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Forty subjects (20 with early stage untreated PD and 20 age-and sex-matched controls) were studied with a high-resolution DTI protocol at 3T to investigate the integrity of thalamic nuclei projection fibers. Two blinded, independent raters drew ROIs in the following 6 thalamic regions: AN, VA, VL, DM, VPL/VPM, and PU. FA values were then calculated from the projection fibers in each region. RESULTS: FA values were reduced significantly in the fibers projecting from the AN, VA, and DM, but not the VPL/VPM and PU, in the PD group compared with the control group. In addition, there was a reduction in FA values that approached significance in the VL of patients with PD. These findings were consistent across both raters. CONCLUSIONS: The present study provides preliminary in vivo evidence of thalamic projection fiber degeneration in de novo PD and sheds light on the extent of disrupted thalamic circuitry as a result of the disease itself.
Planetta, P. J., Schulze, E. T., Geary, E. K., Corcos, D. M., Goldman, J. G., Little, D. M., & Vaillancourt, D. E. (2013). Thalamic projection fiber integrity in de novo Parkinson Disease. American Journal of Neuroradiology, 34(1), 74–79. https://doi.org/10.3174/ajnr.A3178