Myelinated white matter showing diamagnetic susceptibility is important for information transfer in the brain. In Parkinson’s disease (PD), the white matter is also suffering degenerative alterations. Quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) is a novel technique for noninvasive assessment of regional white matter ultrastructure, and provides different information of white matter in addition to standard diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). In this study, we used QSM to detect spatial white matter alterations in PD patients (n = 65) and age- and sex-matched normal controls (n = 46). Voxel-wise tract-based spatial statistics were performed to analyze QSM and DTI data. QSM showed extensive white matter involvement—including regions adjacent to the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes—in PD patients, which was more widespread than that observed using DTI. Both QSM and DTI showed similar alterations in the left inferior longitudinal fasciculus and right cerebellar hemisphere. Further, alterations in the white matter were correlated with motor impairment and global disease severity in PD patients. We suggest that QSM may provide a novel approach for detecting white matter alterations and underlying network disruptions in PD. Further, the combination of QSM and DTI would provide a more complete evaluation of the diseased brain by analyzing different biological tissue properties.
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