Which neuroimaging findings are characteristic of multiple system atrophy (MSA)?

Updated: Sep 24, 2018
  • Author: Stephen M Bloomfield, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
  • Print


Neuroimaging findings in patients with MSA correlate partially with the neuronal subsystems involved. All clinical subtypes tend to cause atrophy of the cerebellum, brainstem, putamen, and caudate nucleus. The globus pallidus tends to be spared in MSA. The cerebellum and brainstem tend to be atrophied in patients who present with predominantly cerebellar features, whereas the putamen and caudate nucleus tend to be involved in patients who present with parkinsonian features. Slitlike hyperintensities are noted on T2- and proton density–weighted MRIs of the pons, middle cerebellar peduncle, and cerebellum. An autopsy-proven case of MSA had hyperintensities in the pyramidal system on T2-weighted fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) MRI.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!