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Research paper
Tracking brain damage in progressive supranuclear palsy: a longitudinal MRI study


Objectives In this prospective, longitudinal, multiparametric MRI study, we investigated clinical as well as brain grey matter and white matter (WM) regional changes in patients with progressive supranuclear palsy-Richardson’s syndrome (PSP-RS).

Methods Twenty-one patients with PSP-RS were evaluated at baseline relative to 36 healthy controls and after a mean follow-up of 1.4 years with clinical rating scales, neuropsychological tests and MRI scans.

Results Relative to controls, patients with PSP-RS showed at baseline a typical pattern of brain damage, including midbrain atrophy, frontal cortical thinning and widespread WM involvement of the main infratentorial and supratentorial tracts that exceeded cortical damage. Longitudinal study showed that PSP-RS exhibited no further changes in cortical thinning, which remained relatively focal, while midbrain atrophy and WM damage significantly progressed. Corpus callosum and frontal WM tract changes correlated with the progression of both disease severity and behavioural dysfunction.

Conclusions This study demonstrated the feasibility of carrying out longitudinal diffusion tensor MRI in patients with PSP-RS and its sensitivity to identifying the progression of pathology. Longitudinal midbrain volume loss and WM changes are associated with PSP disease course.

  • progressive supranuclear palsy
  • richardson syndrome
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • diffusion tensor MRI
  • white matter
  • cortical thickness
  • midbrain volume

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