Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Swallow Tail Sign: Revisited

Brammerloh, Malte; Kirilina, Evgeniya; Alkemade, Anneke; Bazin, Pierre-Louis; Jantzen, Caroline; Jäger, Carsten; Herrler, Andreas; Pine, Kerrin J.; Gowland, Penny A.; Morawski, Markus; Forstmann, Birte U.; Weiskopf, Nikolaus

Swallow Tail Sign: Revisited Thumbnail


Malte Brammerloh

Evgeniya Kirilina

Anneke Alkemade

Pierre-Louis Bazin

Caroline Jantzen

Carsten Jäger

Andreas Herrler

Kerrin J. Pine

Markus Morawski

Birte U. Forstmann

Nikolaus Weiskopf


The loss of the radiologic swallow tail sign on MRI scans of the substantia nigra is a promising diagnostic marker of Parkinson disease (1), although its anatom-ic underpinning is unclear. An early influential study showed that the hyperintense inner part of the swallow tail sign on T2*-weighted images (STh) corresponds to iron-poor areas in substantia nigra and suggested it to equal nigrosome 1, the dopaminergic region affected earliest and strongest in Parkinson disease (2). This would render the STh a cellularly specific marker (2). However, recent postmortem tissue studies have chal-lenged this interpretation, reporting that nigrosome 1 is hypointense in T2*-weighted images (3,4). We com-bined three-dimensional histology with 7-T in vivo and postmortem MRI to demonstrate that nigrosome 1 and the radiologic STh are partially overlapping but distinct.


Brammerloh, M., Kirilina, E., Alkemade, A., Bazin, P., Jantzen, C., Jäger, C., …Weiskopf, N. (2022). Swallow Tail Sign: Revisited. Radiology, 305(3), 674-677.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 6, 2022
Online Publication Date Aug 16, 2022
Publication Date Dec 1, 2022
Deposit Date Aug 20, 2022
Publicly Available Date Aug 23, 2022
Journal Radiology
Print ISSN 0033-8419
Electronic ISSN 1527-1315
Publisher Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 305
Issue 3
Pages 674-677
Keywords Radiology, medical physics, neuroscience, neurology, MRI
Public URL
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations