About this item:

282 Views | 189 Downloads

Author Notes:

Correspondence to: Daniel E. Huddleston, MD, Department of Neurology, Emory University School of Medicine, Woodruff Memorial Building, 6th Floor, 1639 Pierce Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA, Office: (404) 727-9864, Fax: (404) 712-8576, daniel.huddleston@emory.edu.

Significant contributions for subject recruitment, data acquisition and database management were made by Annelise Arth and Rebecca McMurray at Emory University.

The authors would also like to thank the research participants for their time investment and commitment to this research.

Dr. Huddleston and Dr. Hu have a patent: Methods, Systems and Computer Readable Storage Media Storing Instructions for Imaging and Determining Information Associated with Regions of the Brain.

Dr. Langley has nothing to disclose.

Dr. Sedlacik has nothing to disclose.

Dr. Boelmans has nothing to disclose.

Dr. Factor reports the following Honoraria: Neurocrine, Lundbeck, Auspex/Teva, Avanir, Cynapsus, Adamas, UCB ; Grants: Ipsen, Allergan, Medtronic, Auspex, US World Meds, Pharm-Olam, Cynapsus Therapeutics, Solstice, CHDI Foundation, Michael J. Fox Foundation, NIH ; Royalties: Demos, Blackwell Futura for textbooks, UpToDate.


Research Funding:

This work was supported by grant funding from the following sources:

Michael J. Fox Foundation Improved Biomarkers and Clinical Outcome Measures 2015 Award. MJF 10854

The Emory Udall Center for Excellence in Parkinson’s Disease Research Pilot Award NIH 1P50NS071669

The Emory Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center NIH P50-AG025688

Siemens USA / Emory Center for Systems Imaging Grant

SAF supported by the Sartain Lanier Family Foundation


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Neurosciences
  • Neuroimaging
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine & Medical Imaging
  • Neurosciences & Neurology
  • neuromelanin
  • MRI
  • substantia nigra
  • pars compacta
  • iron
  • biomarkers
  • humans
  • image processing
  • dopaminergic neurons

In Vivo Detection of Lateral-Ventral Tier Nigral Degeneration in Parkinson's Disease


Journal Title:

Human Brain Mapping


Volume 38, Number 5


, Pages 2627-2634

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


The objective of this study was to measure neuromelanin-sensitive MRI contrast changes in the lateral-ventral tier of substantia nigra pars compacta in Parkinson's disease (PD). Histopathological studies of PD have demonstrated both massive loss of melanized dopamine neurons and iron accumulation in the substantia nigra pars compacta. Neurodegeneration is most profound in the lateral-ventral tier of this structure. We have previously shown in both healthy controls and individuals with PD that neuromelanin-sensitive MRI and iron-sensitive MRI contrast regions in substantia nigra overlap. This overlap region is located in the lateral-ventral tier. Exploiting this area of contrast overlap for region of interest selection, we developed a semi-automated image processing approach to characterize the lateral-ventral tier in MRI data. Here we apply this approach to measure magnetization transfer contrast, which corresponds to local neuromelanin density, in both the lateral-ventral tier and the entire pars compacta in 22 PD patients and 19 controls. Significant co ntrast reductions were seen in PD in both the entire pars compacta (P = 0.009) and in its lateral-ventral tier (P = 0.0002); in PD contrast was significantly lower in the lateral-ventral tier than in the entire pars compacta (P = 0.0008). These findings are the first in vivo evidence of the selective vulnerability of this nigral subregion in PD, and this approach may be developed for high impact biomarker applications. Hum Brain Mapp 38:2627–2634, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Copyright information:

© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Export to EndNote