Cerebellar Microstructural Abnormalities in Parkinson’s Disease: a Systematic Review of Diffusion Tensor Imaging Studies

Academic Article


  • Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is now having a strong momentum in research to evaluate the neural fibers of the CNS. This technique can study white matter (WM) microstructure in neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s disease (PD). Previous neuroimaging studies have suggested cerebellar involvement in the pathogenesis of PD, and these cerebellum alterations can correlate with PD symptoms and stages. Using the PRISMA 2020 framework, PubMed and EMBASE were searched to retrieve relevant articles. Our search revealed 472 articles. After screening titles and abstracts, and full-text review, and implementing the inclusion criteria, 68 papers were selected for synthesis. Reviewing the selected studies revealed that the patterns of reduction in cerebellum WM integrity, assessed by fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity, radial diffusivity, and axial diffusivity measures can differ symptoms and stages of PD. Cerebellar diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) changes in PD patients with “postural instability and gait difficulty” are significantly different from “tremor dominant” PD patients. Freezing of the gate is strongly related to cerebellar involvement depicted by DTI. The “reduced cognition,” “visual disturbances,” “sleep disorders,” “depression,” and “olfactory dysfunction” are not related to cerebellum microstructural changes on DTI, while “impulsive-compulsive behavior” can be linked to cerebellar WM alteration. Finally, higher PD stages and longer disease duration are associated with cerebellum white matter alteration depicted by DTI. Depiction of cerebellar white matter involvement in PD is feasible by DTI. There is an association with disease duration and severity and several clinical presentations with DTI findings. This clinical-imaging association may eventually improve disease management.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Haghshomar M; Shobeiri P; Seyedi SA; Abbasi-Feijani F; Poopak A; Sotoudeh H; Kamali A; Aarabi MH
  • Start Page

  • 545
  • End Page

  • 571
  • Volume

  • 21
  • Issue

  • 4