Iron quantification in Parkinson's disease using an age-based threshold on susceptibility maps: The advantage of local versus entire structure iron content measurements
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BACKGROUND: Elevated brain iron has been observed in Idiopathic Parkinson's disease (IPD) within the deep gray matter. Using quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) and a thresholded high-iron region, we quantified iron content in the midbrain of patients with Parkinson's disease as a function of age. METHODS: We used MRI to scan 24 IPD patients at 3-Tesla. Susceptibility-weighted images were collected with the following parameters, TE: 6 and 20 ms, TR: 30 ms, FA: 15°, and resolution: 0.5 × 0.5 × 2.0 mm3. QSM images were reconstructed from the source phase images. Whole-region and thresholded high-iron (RII) region boundaries for the Substantia Nigra (SN) and Red Nucleus (RN) were traced. Iron content was measured via mean susceptibilities and volumes, which were compared between the groups, as well as between right and left side of the structures within groups. RESULTS: Twenty patients with mild to moderate IPD were used in this study. For the SN, mean RII and whole-region iron and volumes were higher in the IPD group compared to HC, as well as mean RII for the RN, while no differences were seen between the groups when considering whole-region mean susceptibility bilaterally for the RN. CONCLUSION: Using a two-region of interest analysis on QSM, we showed that abnormal iron occurs in IPD patients in the SN and with greater volumes compared to HC. This method may have application as a biomarker for disease diagnosis and early intervention.
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