Purpose: To enhance the visibility of nigrosome 1 in substantia nigra, which has recently been suggested as an imaging biomarker for Parkinson's disease (PD) at 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Materials and Methods: The substantia nigra structure was visualized at 3T MRI using multiecho susceptibility map-weighted imaging (SMWI) in 15 healthy volunteers and 6 patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). The visibility of nigrosome 1 was further enhanced by acquiring data in an oblique-coronal imaging plane at a high spatial resolution (0.5 × 0.5 × 1.0 mm3). To compare the visibility, the contrast-to-noise ratios (CNR) of the nigrosome 1 structure relative to the neighboring substantia nigra structure were evaluated in the SMWI and other conventional susceptibility contrast images (magnitude, frequency, quantitative susceptibility map [QSM] and susceptibility-weighted image). Results: In healthy volunteers, the CNRs of the nigrosome 1 structure were 1.04 ± 0.38, 0.84 ± 0.32, 1.04 ± 0.40, 0.86 ± 0.41, and 1.45 ± 0.48 for magnitude, frequency, quantitative susceptibility map, susceptibility-weighted image, and SMWI, respectively. Compared to conventional susceptibility contrast images, the SMWI method significantly improved the CNR of nigrosome 1 (P = 0.014 for magnitude, P = 0.030 for QSM, and P < 0.001 for frequency and SWI, respectively). The magnetic susceptibility difference between nigrosome 1 and neighboring substantia nigra structures was 0.037 ± 0.016 ppm (measured in QSM, P < 0.001) in healthy volunteers. In the PD patients, the visibility of the nigrosome 1 structures was reduced. Conclusion: The SMWI method enhances the visibility of nigrosome 1 structures at 3T MRI when compared to conventional susceptibility contrast images. Level of Evidence: 3. Technical Efficacy: Stage 2. J. MAGN. RESON. IMAGING 2017;46:528–536.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging