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Abstract #3331

Neuromelanin-sensitive Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study of the Substantia Nigra in Huntington’s Disease

Ricardo V. Leitão1, Sofia Reimão2,3, Leonor Correia-Guedes3,4, Joaquim J. Ferreira3,5, and Rita G. Nunes1

1ISR-Lisbon/LARSyS and Department of Bioengineering, Instituto Superior Técnico - University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal, 2Neurological Imaging Department, Hospital de Santa Maria - CHLN, Lisbon, Portugal, 3Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Faculdade de Medicina, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal, 4Department of Neurosciences and Mental Health, Neurology, Hospital de Santa Maria - CHLN, Lisbon, Portugal, 5CNS – Campus Neurológico Sénior, Torres Vedras, Portugal

Neuromelanin(NM)-sensitive MRI (NM-MRI) is a promising technique to study pathological changes in NM-containing structures, such as the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc). This midbrain structure modulates the corticostriatal pathway through the striatum, which is known to degenerate in Huntington’s Disease (HD). Our study used NM-MRI for the first time to study HD, with a semi-automatic segmentation method to evaluate the SNc, compatible with dopaminergic neuronal loss in the SNc of HD patients. SNc NM correlated with the volumes of the caudate, putamen and globus pallidus, suggesting that SNc neuronal loss and basal ganglia atrophy may not be independent processes.

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