Journal of Neural Transmission | 2019
Clinical correlates of abnormal subcortical volumes in Essential Tremor
Essential tremor (ET) is considered to be a neurodegenerative disorder and it is plausible that the observed motor and non-motor symptoms may be attributable to functional alterations secondary to abnormalities of subcortical nuclei. This study aims to compare the volumes of subcortical nuclei in patients with ET to ascertain neuroimaging correlates of motor and non-motor features of ET. Forty patients of ET and 40 age- and gender-matched healthy controls (HC) were enrolled in this study. Tremor severity was quantified with the Fahn–Tolosa–Marin tremor rating scale. Patients of ET with and without a rest tremor were also compared. Structural imaging was performed on a 3T scanner, and volumes of subcortical structures were obtained using Freesurfer. There was no difference in total brain volume between ET and HC. However, compared to HC, significantly lower volumes of bilateral thalamus, hippocampus, and ventral diencephalon were observed in patients with ET. A significantly higher volume was observed in the right caudate nucleus, pallidum, amygdala, and bilateral putamen, and nucleus accumbens. No difference was observed between patients of ET with and without a rest tremor. Patients with ET have significant alterations in volumes of subcortical nuclei, which are not limited to the motor domain and include structures involved in cognitive and behavioral functions. These results add to the growing concept of a neurodegenerative pathophysiology of ET with abnormalities extending beyond the cerebellum.