Previous multimodal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies of parkinsonian syndromes have focused primarily on motor-related basal ganglia structures. The present study investigated MRI changes in nonmotor-related limbic structures in 35 Parkinson's disease, 16 multiple system atrophy parkinsonian subtype, 17 progressive supranuclear palsy, and 37 control subjects. Mean diffusivity (MD), fractional anisotropy, transverse relaxation rate (R2*), quantitative susceptibility mapping, and volume measurements were obtained from the amygdala, hippocampus, and nucleus accumbens (NAc) to examine differences between groups and to test for associations with clinical scores. Compared with controls, Parkinson's disease subjects had lower NAc volume; multiple system atrophy parkinsonian subtype subjects had higher NAc transverse relaxation rate; and progressive supranuclear palsy subjects had higher amygdala and hippocampus MD and lower hippocampus fractional anisotropy (p's ≤ 0.008). Among parkinsonian subjects, amygdala and hippocampus MD associated positively with Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale nonmotor and activities of daily living scores (p's ≤ 0.005). Together, these findings support the inclusion of limbic structures in future MRI studies of parkinsonian syndromes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-200
Number of pages7
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
StatePublished - Apr 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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