Brain MRI of multiple system atrophy of cerebellar type: a prospective study with implications for diagnosis criteria
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The second consensus statement for the diagnosis of multiple system atrophy type cerebellar (MSA-C) includes pons and middle cerebellar peduncle (MCP) atrophy as MRI features. However, other MRI abnormalities such as MCP hyperintensity, hot cross bun sign (HCB), putaminal hypointensity and hyperintense putaminal rim have been described.
To evaluate, in patients with sporadic late-onset cerebellar ataxia (SLOCA), the discriminative value of several MRI features for the diagnosis of MSA-C, to follow their evolution during the course of MSA-C, and to search for correlations between these MRI features and clinical signs.
Consecutive patients referred for SLOCA underwent comprehensive clinical evaluation and laboratory investigations, brain MRI, DaTscan and a 1-year follow-up.
Among 80 patients, 26 had MSA-C, 22 another diagnosis, and 32 no diagnosis at the end of the follow-up. At baseline, MCP hyperintensity and HCB were more frequent in patients finally diagnosed with MSA-C than in other patients with SLOCA (p < 0.0001), and had the highest specificity (98.5%) and positive predictive value (91.7%) for the diagnosis of MSA-C, compared to all other MRI signs. The most relevant MRI sequence regarding HCB sign was the T2-proton density (DP) weighted. All MRI features were more frequent with disease duration. No correlation was found between any MRI feature and neither clinical data, nor dopaminergic neuronal loss (p = 0.5008), except between vermis atrophy and UPDRSIII score.
MCP hyperintensity and HCB sign should be added into the list of additional features of possible MSA-C. MRI signal abnormalities suggestive of MSA-C should be searched for in suitable sequence.
KeywordsMultiple system atrophy Late-onset cerebellar ataxia Magnetic resonance imaging Hot cross bun sign DaTscan
This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This study has been approved by the local ethical committee.
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