Eye of the tiger sign (globus pallidus)

The eye of the tiger sign refers to symmetric bilateral abnormal low signal on T2-weighted MRI (due to abnormal accumulation of iron) in the globus pallidus with central high signal (due to gliosis and spongiosis).

The eye of the tiger sign is most classically associated with pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration​ 1-3 although it is not pathognomonic particularly in adults 5. There are no formalized criteria for the sign 6 and other conditions may demonstrate a similar appearance, such as Wilson disease 7, atypical parkinsonism 8 and organophosphate poisoning 9; it may also be a normal finding on a 3 T magnet 6. Therefore, caution should be used when interpreting this sign.

Inspired signs

Article information

rID: 1311
Section: Signs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Globus pallidus T2 hypointensity
  • Eye of the tiger
  • Eye of the tiger sign
  • Eye of tiger sign

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: tiger eye (photo)
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  • Case 1: probable Hallervorden-Spatz syndrome
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  • Case 2
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  • Case 3
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