Abnormal spontaneous brain activity in early Parkinson's disease with mild cognitive impairment: A resting-state fMRI study

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Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a common symptom at the baseline of early Parkinson's disease (PD) diagnosis, but the neural mechanism is unclear. To address the issue, the present study employed resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data of 19 drug-naïve PD patients with normal cognition (PD-NC), 10 PD patients with MCI (PD-MCI) and 13 age- and gender-matched healthy controls (HC) from the Parkinson's progression markers initiative (PPMI) (http://www.ppmi-info.org/), and examined abnormal spontaneous brain activities in the PD-MCI. The pattern of spontaneous brain activity was measured by examining the amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (ALFF) of blood oxygen level dependent signal. Voxel-wise one-way analysis of covariance and post hoc analyses of ALFF were performed under non-parametric permutation tests in a general linear model among the three groups, with age, gender and data center as additional covariates. Statistical significances in the post hoc analysis were corrected by a small volume correction with a cluster-level threshold of p < 0.05 (n = 10000 permutations, FWE-corrected). Correlations of clinical and neuropsychological assessments [i.e., Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) total score, Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and cognitive domains] with the regional ALFF were performed in the PD-MCI group. Compared with the HC, both PD groups exhibited reduced ALFF in the occipital area (Calcarine_R/Cuneus_R). Specially, the PD-MCI group additionally exhibited increased ALFF in the opercular part of right inferior frontal gyrus (Frontal_Inf_Oper_R). Comparing with the PD-NC, the PD-MCI group exhibited significantly higher ALFF in the Frontal_Inf_Oper_R and left fusiform gyus (ps < 0.05). The correlation analysis revealed that the ALFF in the Frontal_Inf_Oper_R was positively correlated with the UPDRS total score (p < 0.05), but marginally negatively correlated with the MoCA score. For cognitive domains, the ALFF in the region also showed a significantly negative correlation with the score of SF test (p < 0.01) and a marginally negative correlation with the score of Symbol-Digit Modalities Test. Together, we concluded hyperactivity in the right inferior frontal gyrus in early PD with MCI, suggesting a compensatory recruitment in response to cognitive decline, which may shed light on thought of dementia progression and potentially comprehensive treatment in PD.




Wang, Z., Jia, X., Chen, H., Feng, T., & Wang, H. (2018). Abnormal spontaneous brain activity in early Parkinson’s disease with mild cognitive impairment: A resting-state fMRI study. Frontiers in Physiology, 9(AUG). https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2018.01093

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