Neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging (NODDI) and free-water imaging in Parkinsonism

Trina Mitchell, Derek B. Archer, Winston T. Chu, Stephen A. Coombes, Song Lai, Bradley J. Wilkes, Nikolaus R. McFarland, Michael S. Okun, Mieniecia L. Black, Ellen Herschel, Tanya Simuni, Cynthia Comella, Tao Xie, Hong Li, Todd B. Parrish, Ajay S. Kurani, Daniel M. Corcos, David E. Vaillancourt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging (NODDI) uses a three-compartment model to probe brain tissue microstructure, whereas free-water (FW) imaging models two-compartments. It is unknown if NODDI detects more disease-specific effects related to neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD) and atypical Parkinsonism. We acquired multi- and single-shell diffusion imaging at 3 Tesla across two sites. NODDI (using multi-shell; isotropic volume [Viso]; intracellular volume [Vic]; orientation dispersion [ODI]) and FW imaging (using single-shell; FW; free-water corrected fractional anisotropy [FAt]) were compared with 44 PD, 21 multiple system atrophy Parkinsonian variant (MSAp), 26 progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), and 24 healthy control subjects in the basal ganglia, midbrain/thalamus, cerebellum, and corpus callosum. There was elevated Viso in posterior substantia nigra across Parkinsonisms, and Viso, Vic, and ODI were altered in MSAp and PSP in the striatum, globus pallidus, midbrain, thalamus, cerebellum, and corpus callosum relative to controls. The mean effect size across regions for Viso was 0.163, ODI 0.131, Vic 0.122, FW 0.359, and FAt 0.125, with extracellular compartments having the greatest effect size. A key question addressed was if these techniques discriminate PD and atypical Parkinsonism. Both NODDI (AUC: 0.945) and FW imaging (AUC: 0.969) had high accuracy, with no significant difference between models. This study provides new evidence that NODDI and FW imaging offer similar discriminability between PD and atypical Parkinsonism, and FW had higher effect sizes for detecting Parkinsonism within regions across the basal ganglia and cerebellum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5094-5107
Number of pages14
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number17
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Parkinsonism
  • diffusion MRI
  • free-water
  • isotropic volume
  • neurite density
  • orientation dispersion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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