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Putamen iron quantification in diseases with neurodegeneration: a meta-analysis of the quantitative susceptibility mapping technique.

Quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) is an MRI technique that accurately measures iron concentration in brain tissues. This meta-analysis synthesized evidence from 30 studies that used QSM to quantify the iron levels in the putamen. The PRISMA statement was adhered to when conducting the systematic reviews and meta-analyses. We conducted a meta-analysis using a random-effects model, as well as subgroup analyses (disease type, geographic region, field strength, coil, disease type, age, and sex) and sensitivity analysis. A total of 1247 patients and 1035 controls were included in the study. Pooled results showed a standardized mean difference (SMD) of 0.41 (95% CI 0.19 to 0.64), with the strongest effect seen in Alzheimer's disease (AD) at 1.01 (95% CI 0.50 to 1.52). Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) also showed increased putaminal iron at 0.37 (95% CI 0.177 to 0.58). No significant differences were observed in Parkinson's disease (PD). No significant differences were found between subgroups based on geographic region, field strength, coil, disease type, age, and sex. The studies revealed significant heterogeneity, with field strength as the primary source, while other factors, such as disease type, location, age, sex, and coil type, may have contributed. The sensitivity analysis showed that these factors did not have a significant influence on the overall results. In summary, this meta-analysis supports abnormalities in putaminal iron content across different diseases with neurodegeneration, especially AD and RRMS, as measured by QSM. This highlights the potential of QSM as an imaging biomarker to better understand disease mechanisms involving disturbances in brain iron homeostasis.

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