The visualization and identification of the deep cerebellar nuclei (DCN) (dentate [DN], interposed [IN] and fastigial nuclei [FN]) are particularly challenging. We aimed to visualize the DCN using quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM), predict the contrast differences between QSM and T2* weighted imaging, and compare the DCN volume and susceptibility in movement disorder populations and healthy controls (HCs). Seventy-one Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients, 39 essential tremor patients, and 80 HCs were enrolled. The PD patients were subdivided into tremor dominant (TD) and postural instability/gait difficulty (PIGD) groups. A 3D strategically acquired gradient echo MR imaging protocol was used for each subject to obtain the QSM data. Regions of interest were drawn manually on the QSM data to calculate the volume and susceptibility. Correlation analysis between the susceptibility and either age or volume was performed and the intergroup differences of the volume and magnetic susceptibility in all the DCN structures were evaluated. For the most part, all the DCN structures were clearly visualized on the QSM data. The susceptibility increased as a function of volume for both the HC group and disease groups in the DN and IN (p < .001) but not the FN (p = .74). Only the volume of the FN in the TD-PD group was higher than that in the HCs (p = .012), otherwise, the volume and susceptibility among these four groups did not differ significantly. In conclusion, QSM provides clear visualization of the DCN structures. The results for the volume and susceptibility of the DCN can be used as baseline references in future studies of movement disorders.
© 2022 The Authors. Human Brain Mapping published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.