X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism is a neurodegenerative movement disorder characterized by adult-onset dystonia combined with parkinsonism over the disease course. Previous imaging and pathological findings indicate exclusive striatal atrophy with predominant pathology of the striosomal compartment in the dystonic phase of X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism. The striosome occupies 10-15% of the entire striatal volume and the density of striosomes follows a rostrocaudal gradient with the rostral striatum being considered striosome-rich. Recent quantitative MRI analyses provided evidence for an additional involvement of the white matter and the pallidum. In this study, we aimed to (i) disentangle the degree of atrophy in the different subdivisions of the striatum; (ii) investigate changes of cortical morphology; and (iii) elucidate the role of the cerebellum in X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism. T1-weighted MRI scans were acquired in 17 male X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism patients with predominant dystonia (40.1 ± 7.5 years) and 17 ethnicity-matched male healthy controls (35.2 ± 7.4 years). Voxel-based morphometry used a region of interest-based approach for the basal ganglia and primary motor cortex, whole brain analysis, and a separate analysis of the cerebellum. Cortical thickness and subcortical volume were measured. Volume loss in X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism affected all parts of the striatum (-29% voxel intensity) but was most pronounced in the associative subdivision (-41%; P < 0.001). The volume loss also involved the external and internal pallidum, albeit to a lesser extent than the striatum (-19% and -12%, P<0.001). Cortical thickness was reduced in the frontal (-4.3%) and temporal cortex (-6.1%). In addition, we found grey matter pathology in the associative part of the cerebellum and increased voxel intensities in the anterior sensorimotor part of the cerebellum and the dorsal ponto-mesencephalic brainstem. Taken together, our analysis of subcortical and cortical grey matter in the dystonic phase of X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism showed that (i) the striosome-enriched rostral striatum was most severely affected; and (ii) cortical thickness was only reduced in those regions that predominantly have anatomical connections to striosomes. Moreover, the cerebellum may be implicated in both disease-related and compensatory changes, highlighting the significance of the cerebellum in the pathophysiology of dystonia.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBrain Research
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)2995-3008
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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