Volumetric analysis of the subthalamic and red nuclei based on magnetic resonance imaging in patients with Parkinson's disease

Ilkay Camlidag*, Ersoy Kocabicak, Bunyamin Sahin, Ali Jahanshahi, Lutfi Incesu, Dursun Aygun, Onur Yildiz, Yasin Temel, Umit Belet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Parkinson's disease (PD) is associated with degeneration of the dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. The subthalamic nucleus (STN) plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis. However, there is not much known about the morphological changes in the STN. The red nucleus (RN) has many connections with the motor coordinating pathways although it is not primarily involved in the pathogenesis. In this study we aimed to compare the volumes of the STN and RN measured by magnetic resonance imaging in PD patients and controls to investigate how these structures are affected at the morphological level. Twenty patients with PD and twenty age/sex matched controls were enrolled in this study. Severity score was determined by Hoehn & Yahr staging: 6 at stage II and 14 at stage III in med-off state. Imaging was performed by a 1.5 Tesla (T) MR scanner. Measurements of total brain and normalized STN and RN volumes were performed by manual planimetry using Image J software. No statistically significant differences were observed between two groups based on age or gender and disease stage and nuclei volumes. The total estimated brain volumes were not different between PD patients and controls. However, normalized volumes of the STN and RN were 14% and 16% larger, respectively, in PD patients compared to the controls (p <0.05). Our findings suggest that the volumes of the STN and RN are increased in patients with PD. These changes possibly reflect the altered metabolic activity of these regions demonstrated by neurophysiological studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-295
JournalInternational Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • Parkinson's disease
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • subthalamic nucleus
  • red nucleus
  • volumetric analysis

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