Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a potential biomarker for parkinson’s disease (PD)

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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has the potential to serve as a biomarker for Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, the type or types of biomarker it could provide remain to be determined. At this time there is not sufficient sensitivity or specificity for MRI to serve as an early diagnostic biomarker, i.e., it is unproven in its ability to determine if a single individual is normal, has mild PD, or has some other forms of degenerative parkinsonism. However there is accumulating evidence that MRI may be useful in staging and monitoring disease progression (staging biomarker), and also possibly as a means to monitor pathophysiological aspects of disease and associated response to treatments, i.e., theranostic marker. As there are increasing numbers of manuscripts that are dedicated to diffusion- and neuromelanin-based imaging methods, this review will focus on these topics cursorily and will delve into pharmacodynamic imaging as a means to get at theranostic aspects of PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number68
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 16 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research funding: Northwestern University, MJ Fox Foundation, University of Minnesota, National Institutes of Health Grant 1P50NS098573, Biotie, Kyowa, Bristol-Meyers-Squibb. Jennifer Sees provided extremely helpful editorial assistance in this manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 by the author.

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)
  • Fractional anisotropy (FA)
  • Functional MRI (fMRI)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS)
  • Neuromelanin
  • Pharmacodynamic MRI (phMRI)
  • Resting state-fMRI (rs-fMRI)
  • Theranostics
  • Voxel-based morphometry (VBM)


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