The basal ganglia matching tools package for striatal uptake semi-quantification: description and validation

  • Piero Calvini
  • Guido Rodriguez
  • Fabrizio Inguglia
  • Alessandro Mignone
  • Ugo Paolo Guerra
  • Flavio NobiliEmail author
Original article



To design a novel algorithm (BasGan) for automatic segmentation of striatal 123I-FP-CIT SPECT.


The BasGan algorithm is based on a high-definition, three-dimensional (3D) striatal template, derived from Talairach’s atlas. A blurred template, obtained by convolving the former with a 3D Gaussian kernel (FWHM = 10 mm), approximates striatal activity distribution. The algorithm performs translations and scale transformation on the bicommissural aligned image to set the striatal templates with standard size in an appropriate initial position. An optimization protocol automatically performs fine adjustments in the positioning of blurred templates to best match the radioactive counts, and locates an occipital ROI for background evaluation. Partial volume effect correction is included in the process of uptake computation of caudate, putamen and background. Experimental validation was carried out by means of six acquisitions of an anthropomorphic striatal phantom. The BasGan software was applied to a first set of patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) versus patients affected by essential tremor.


A highly significant correlation was achieved between true binding potential and measured 123I activity from the phantom. 123I-FP-CIT uptake was significantly lower in all basal ganglia in the PD group versus controls with both BasGan and a conventional ROI method used for comparison, but particularly with the former. Correlations with the motor UPDRS score were far more significant with the BasGan.


The novel BasGan algorithm automatically performs the 3D segmentation of striata. Because co-registered MRI is not needed, it can be used by all nuclear medicine departments, since it is freely available on the Web.


123I-FP-CIT SPECT Automatic VOIs Parkinson’s disease Nigrostriatal system Basal ganglia Anthropomorphic brain phantom 



The BasGan software has been partially developed with the financial support of GE-Healthcare, Italian Division (Milan), which has also supported translation of the BasGan package instruction manual on the Web from the original Italian version into English. We thank Dr.Enrico Seccamani and Dr. Vincenzo Orlando of GE for following the project since its inception.

Our thanks also go to Dr. Nicola Girtler and Dr. Andrea Brugnolo of the Clinical Neurophysiology Division in Genoa for performing the neuropsychological evaluation in PD patients and to Dr. Arnoldo Piccardo and Dr. Silvia Morbelli at the Nuclear Medicine Dept. of the University of Genoa for acquiring SPECT scans in PD patients and controls.

Finally, we wish to thank Elizabeth Cotton for English editing.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Piero Calvini
    • 1
  • Guido Rodriguez
    • 2
  • Fabrizio Inguglia
    • 3
  • Alessandro Mignone
    • 4
  • Ugo Paolo Guerra
    • 4
  • Flavio Nobili
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsUniversity and INFNGenoaItaly
  2. 2.Clinical Neurophysiology, Department of Endocrinological and Metabolic SciencesUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Informatics and Information SciencesUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly
  4. 4.Nuclear Medicine DivisionOspedali RiunitiBergamoItaly

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