The radiological and clinical significance of a dilated Virchow-Robin space (dVRS) in the striatum (STR) remains unclear. We investigated the role of dVRS in STR on parkinsonism and dopamine transporter positron emission tomography (DaT-PET) findings.
Patients with parkinsonism who underwent both brain magnetic resonance imaging and DaT-PET were included. Clinical status was evaluated by Hoehn and Yahr (HY) stage, Korean-Mini Mental Status Examination (K-MMSE), Montreal Cognitive Assessment Korea (MoCA-K), and Frontal Assessment Battery (FAB). dVRS was assessed by semi-quantitative and quantitative scales in each of the three segments of STR (caudate nuclei, anterior and posterior putamen) and was expressed as a dVRS score. DaT-PET was qualitatively assessed as either normal or abnormal in each segment. The relationship between dVRS and DaT-PET abnormality (ab-DaT-PET) was designated in each segment as either concordant or discordant. A concordant segment was defined by the presence of dVRS with ab-DaT-PET [Concordance rate (CR)=number of concordant segments/number of concordant and discordant segments].
Eleven patients were included. There was no significant correlation between the presence of dVRS and ab-DaT-PET. The mean CR was 0.39. CR was not significantly correlated with any clinical or neuroimaging scales. The dVRS score was significantly correlated with K-MMSE, MoCA-K, and FAB (r=−0.675, −0.847, and −0.868, respectively) but not with HY stage.
dVRS in STR played no significant role on dopaminergic innervation revealed by DaT-PET and made little contribution to clinical parkinsonism; however, it was correlated with cognitive impairment.