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'Swallow Tail' appearance and Parkinsonism-Role of 7Tesla MRI

  • There is no well-established in vivo marker of nigral degeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD).
  • High-resolution, iron-sensitive, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 7T allows direct nigrosome-1 visualisation in healthy people but not in PD. 
  • Nigrosome-1 is located in the posterior third of the substantia nigra, returns a high signal on SWI in a ‘linear’, ‘comma’ or ‘wedge’ shape and is surrounded by low SWI signal intensity anterior and laterally (pars compacta SN) and medially by low signal from the medial leminiscus.
  •  Nigrosome-1 and its surrounding structures have resemblance to the tail of a swallow on axial imaging HR-SWI
Reference and further reading :
  • Schwarz ST, Afzal M, Morgan PS, Bajaj N, Gowland PA, et al. (2014) The ‘Swallow Tail’ Appearance of the Healthy Nigrosome – A New Accurate Test of Parkinson's Disease: A Case-Control and Retrospective Cross-Sectional MRI Study at 3T. PLoS ONE 9(4): e93814. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093814
'Swallow Tail' appearance and Parkinsonism-Role of 7Tesla MRI Reviewed by Sumer Sethi on Thursday, September 04, 2014 Rating: 5

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