Substantia nigra fractional anisotropy changes confirm the PD at-risk status of patients with idiopathic smell loss

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Introduction: Individuals with unexplained smell loss constitute an at-risk population for the development of Parkinson's disease (PD). Currently, no specific MRI patterns are known for early PD diagnosis. In this study, we measured the fractional anisotropy (FA) in the substantia nigra (SN) in PD patients, in patients with idiopathic smell loss, and in healthy controls. Methods: All subjects underwent extensive olfactory testing and MR imaging data were obtained to explore SN diffusion characteristics. The SN regions were manually identified by two independent raters on the individual imaging data. Results: FA measurements in the SN revealed significant group differences, with reduced values clearly distinguishing PD patients and patients with idiopathic smell loss from healthy controls. Conclusion: These findings indicate a reduced intrinsic integrity of the SN in PD at-risk subjects and support the risk status of patients with idiopathic smell loss.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-116
Number of pages4
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

External IDs

PubMed 29477459
ORCID /0000-0001-9713-0183/work/152545952



  • Fractional anisotropy, Idiopathic smell loss, Parkinson's disease, Substantia nigra