Hemisphere, gender and age-related effects on iron deposition in deep gray matter revealed by quantitative susceptibility mapping

Nan Jie Gong (Corresponding Author), Chun Sing Wong, Edward S. Hui, Chun Chung Chan, Lam Ming Leung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this work was to investigate the effects of hemispheric location, gender and age on susceptibility value, as well as the association between susceptibility value and diffusional metrics, in deep gray matter. Iron content was estimated in vivo using quantitative susceptibility mapping. Microstructure was probed using diffusional kurtosis imaging. Regional susceptibility and diffusional metrics were measured for the putamen, caudate nucleus, globus pallidus, thalamus, substantia nigra and red nucleus in 42 healthy adults (age range 25-78 years). Susceptibility value was significantly higher in the left than the right side of the caudate nucleus (P = 0.043) and substantia nigra (P < 0.001). Women exhibited lower susceptibility values than men in the thalamus (P < 0.001) and red nucleus (P = 0.032). Significant age-related increases of susceptibility were observed in the putamen (P < 0.001), red nucleus (P < 0.001), substantia nigra (P = 0.004), caudate nucleus (P < 0.001) and globus pallidus (P = 0.017). The putamen exhibited the highest rate of iron accumulation with aging (slope of linear regression = 0.73 × 10-3 ppm/year), which was nearly twice those in substantia nigra (slope = 0.40 × 10-3 ppm/year) and caudate nucleus (slope = 0.39 × 10-3 ppm/year). Significant positive correlations between the susceptibility value and diffusion measurements were observed for fractional anisotropy (P = 0.045) and mean kurtosis (P = 0.048) in the putamen without controlling for age. Neither correlation was significant after controlling for age. Hemisphere, gender and age-related differences in iron measurements were observed in deep gray matter. Notably, the putamen exhibited the highest rate of increase in susceptibility with aging. Correlations between susceptibility value and microstructural measurements were inconclusive. These findings could provide new clues for unveiling mechanisms underlying iron-related neurodegenerative diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1267-1274
Number of pages8
JournalNMR in Biomedicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Age
  • Diffusional kurtosis imaging
  • Iron
  • Magnetic susceptibility
  • Putamen
  • Susceptibility mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Spectroscopy


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