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Published in: European Radiology 5/2023

21-01-2023 | Neuro

Regional age-related changes of neuromelanin and iron in the substantia nigra based on neuromelanin accumulation and iron deposition

Authors: Yufan Chen, Tao Gong, Cong Sun, Aocai Yang, Fei Gao, Tong Chen, Weibo Chen, Guangbin Wang

Published in: European Radiology | Issue 5/2023

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Abstract

Objectives

To investigate age-related neuromelanin signal variation and iron content changes in the subregions of substantia nigra (SN) using magnetization transfer contrast neuromelanin-sensitive multi-echo fast field echo sequence in a normal population.

Methods

In this prospective study, 115 healthy volunteers between 20 and 86 years of age were recruited and scanned using 3.0-T MRI. We manually delineated neuromelanin accumulation and iron deposition regions in neuromelanin image and quantitative susceptibility mapping, respectively. We calculated the overlap region using the two measurements mentioned above. Partial correlation analysis was used to evaluate the correlations between volume, contrast ratio (CR), susceptibility of three subregions of SN, and age. Curve estimation models were used to find the best regression model.

Results

CR increased with age (r = 0.379, p < 0.001; r = 0.371, p < 0.001), while volume showed an age-related decline (r =  −0.559, p < 0.001; r =  −0.410, p < 0.001) in the neuromelanin accumulation and overlap regions. Cubic polynomial regression analysis found a small increase in neuromelanin accumulation volume with age until 34, followed by a significant decrease until the 80 s (R2 = 0.358, p < 0.001). No significant correlations were found between susceptibility and age in any subregion. No correlation was found between CR and susceptibility in the overlap region.

Conclusions

Our results indicated that CR increased with age, while volume showed an age-related decline in the overlap region. We further found that the neuromelanin accumulation region volume increased until the 30 s and decreased into the 80 s. This study may provide a reference for future neurodegenerative elucidations of substantia nigra.

Key Points

• Our results define the regional changes in neuromelanin and iron in the substantia nigra with age in the normal population, especially in the overlap region.
• The contrast ratio increased with age in the neuromelanin accumulation and overlap regions, and volume showed an age-related decline, while contrast ratio and volume do not affect each other indirectly.
• The contrast ratio of hyperintense neuromelanin in the overlap region was unaffected by iron content.
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Metadata
Title
Regional age-related changes of neuromelanin and iron in the substantia nigra based on neuromelanin accumulation and iron deposition
Authors
Yufan Chen
Tao Gong
Cong Sun
Aocai Yang
Fei Gao
Tong Chen
Weibo Chen
Guangbin Wang
Publication date
21-01-2023
Publisher
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Published in
European Radiology / Issue 5/2023
Print ISSN: 0938-7994
Electronic ISSN: 1432-1084
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00330-023-09411-8

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