Magnetization transfer and adiabatic R MRI in the brainstem of Parkinson's disease

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Background: In addition to classic midbrain pathology, Parkinson's disease (PD) is accompanied by changes in pontine and medullary brainstem structures. These additional abnormalities may underlie non-motor features as well as play a role in motor disability. Methods: Using novel magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods based on rotating frame adiabatic R (i.e., measurements of longitudinal relaxation during adiabatic full passage pulses) and modified magnetization transfer (MT) MRI mapping, we sought to identify brainstem alterations in nine individuals with mild-moderate PD (off medication) and ten age-matched controls at 4 T. Results: We discovered significant differences in MRI parameters between midbrain and medullary brainstem structures in control subjects as compared to PD patients. Conclusions: These findings support the presence of underlying functional/structural brainstem changes in mild-moderate PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)623-625
Number of pages3
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the patient and control participants who made this study happen along with Susan Rolandelli and the Center for MR Research. This work was supported by the Minnesota Medical Foundation , NIH grants BTRR-P41RR008079 , R01NS061866 , R01NS03065 , R21NS059813 , the Neuroscience Center Core Blueprint Award P30 NS057091 .


  • MRI
  • Magnetization transfer
  • Medulla
  • Parkinson's disease
  • R1ρ


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