ObjectivesTo conduct brainstem MRI shape analysis across neurodegenerative parkinsonisms and control subjects (CS), along with its association with clinical and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) correlates.MethodologyWe collected demographic and clinical variables, performed planimetric and shape MRI analyses, and determined CSF neurofilament-light chain (NfL) levels in 84 participants: 11 CS, 12 with Parkinson's disease (PD), 26 with multiple system atrophy (MSA), 21 with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), and 14 with corticobasal degeneration (CBD).ResultsMSA featured the most extensive and significant brainstem shape narrowing (that is, atrophy), mostly in the pons. CBD presented local atrophy in several small areas in the pons and midbrain compared to PD and CS. PSP presented local atrophy in small areas in the posterior and upper midbrain as well as the rostral pons compared to MSA. Our findings of planimetric MRI measurements and CSF NfL levels replicated those from previous literature. Brainstem shape atrophy correlated with worse motor state in all parkinsonisms and with higher NfL levels in MSA, PSP, and PD.ConclusionAtypical parkinsonisms present different brainstem shape patterns which correlate with clinical severity and neuronal degeneration. In MSA, shape analysis could be further explored as a potential diagnostic biomarker. By contrast, shape analysis appears to have a rather limited discriminant value in PSP.
- Multiple system atrophy
- Neurofilament protein
- Parkinsonian disorders
- Progressive supranuclear palsy
- Shape analysis