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Abstract #0792

7 Tesla imaging of microstructural brainstem changes in REM sleep behavior disorder

Marta Bianciardi1, Laura D Lewis1, Lawrence L Wald1, Bruce R Rosen1, and Aleksandar Videnovic2

1Department of Radiology, A.A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, MGH and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States, 2Department of Neurology, MGH and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States

REM-sleep-behavior-disorder (RBD) is characterized by the absence of muscle-atonia during REM-sleep and is thought to be related to a dysfunction of brainstem-nuclei (Bn) of the arousal/motor networks. Yet, a precise identification of the Bn involved in vivo is still missing, thus limiting our understanding of this disease. Through multi-contrast high-spatial-resolution 7Tesla-MRI and a recently developed stereotaxic-Bn-atlas, we consistently detected across RBD-patients microstructural-changes in a subregion of the substantia nigra, consistent with pars reticulata, and in a peri-nigral area. Interestingly, these changes were compatible with the presence of lacunar infarcts, finding that differs from recent reports of nigral iron-accumulation in RBD.

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