Grey matter changes in cognitively impaired Parkinson's disease patients

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Cortical changes associated with cognitive decline in Parkinson's disease (PD) are not fully explored and require investigations with established diagnostic classification criteria. OBJECTIVE: We used MRI source-based morphometry to evaluate specific differences in grey matter volume patterns across 4 groups of subjects: healthy controls (HC), PD with normal cognition (PD-NC), PD with mild cognitive impairment (MCI-PD) and PD with dementia (PDD). METHODS: We examined 151 consecutive subjects: 25 HC, 75 PD-NC, 29 MCI-PD, and 22 PDD at an Italian and Czech movement disorder centre. Operational diagnostic criteria were applied to classify MCI-PD and PDD. All structural MRI images were processed together in the Czech centre. The spatial independent component analysis was used to assess group differences of local grey matter volume. RESULTS: We identified two independent patterns of grey matter volume deviations: a) Reductions in the hippocampus and temporal lobes; b) Decreases in fronto-parietal regions and increases in the midbrain/cerebellum. Both patterns differentiated PDD from all other groups and correlated with visuospatial deficits and letter verbal fluency, respectively. Only the second pattern additionally differentiated PD-NC from HC. CONCLUSION: Grey matter changes in PDD involve areas associated with Alzheimer-like pathology while fronto-parietal abnormalities are possibly an early marker of PD cognitive decline. These findings are consistent with a non-linear cognitive progression in PD.

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Rektorova, I., Biundo, R., Marecek, R., Weis, L., Aarsland, D., & Antonini, A. (2014). Grey matter changes in cognitively impaired Parkinson’s disease patients. PLoS ONE, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0085595

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