Multiple system atrophy cerebellar type (MSA-C) and spinocerebellar ataxia type 3 (SCA3) demonstrate similar manifestations, including ataxia, pyramidal and extrapyramidal signs, as well as atrophy and signal intensity changes in the cerebellum and brainstem. MSA-C and SCA3 cannot be clinically differentiated through T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) alone; therefore, clinical consensus criteria and genetic testing are also required. Here, we used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to measure water molecular diffusion of white matter and investigate the difference between MSA-C and SCA3. Four measurements were calculated from DTI images, including fractional anisotropy (FA), axial diffusivity (AD), radial diffusivity (RD), and mean diffusivity (MD). Fifteen patients with MSA-C, 15 patients with SCA3, and 30 healthy individuals participated in this study. Both patient groups demonstrated a significantly decreased FA but a significantly increased AD, RD, and MD in the cerebello-ponto-cerebral tracts. Moreover, patients with SCA3 demonstrated a significant decrease in FA but more significant increases in AD, RD, and MD in the cerebello-cerebral tracts than patients with MSAC. Our results may suggest that FA and MD can be effectively used for differentiating SCA3 and MSA-C, both of which are cerebellar ataxias and have many common atrophied regions in the cerebral and cerebellar cortex.
- K-means clustering
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