Functional Connectivity Within the Default Mode Network Is Associated With Saccadic Accuracy in Parkinson's Disease: A Resting-State fMRI and Videooculographic Study

  • Gorges M
  • Müller H
  • Lulé D
 et al. 
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Abstract

In addition to the skeleto-motor deficits, patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) frequently present with oculomotor dysfunctions such as impaired smooth pursuit and saccadic abnormalities. There is increasing evidence for an impaired cortical function to be responsible for oculomotor deficits that are associated with lack of inhibitory control; however, these pathomechanisms still remain poorly understood. By means of "task-free" resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI), functional connectivity changes in PD within the default mode network (DMN) have been reported. The aim of this study was to investigate whether altered functional connectivity within the DMN was correlated with oculomotor parameter changes in PD. Twelve PD patients and 13 matched healthy controls underwent rs-fMRI at 1.5 T and videooculography (VOG) using Eye-Link-System. Rs-fMRI seed-based region-to-region connectivity analysis was performed, including medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), medial temporal lobe (MTL), posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), and hippocampal formation (HF); while VOG examination comprised ocular reactive saccades, smooth pursuit, and executive tests. Rs-fMRI analysis demonstrated a decreased region-to-region functional connectivity between mPFC and PCC as well as increased connectivity between bilateral HF in PD compared with controls. In VOG, patients and controls differed in terms of executive tests outcome, smooth pursuit eye movement, and visually guided reactive saccades but not in peak eye velocity. A significant relationship was observed between saccadic accuracy and functional connectivity strengths between MTL and PCC. These results suggest that PD-associated changes of DMN connectivity are correlated with PD-associated saccadic hypometria, in particular in the vertical direction.

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Authors

  • Martin Gorges

  • Hans-Peter Müller

  • Dorothée Lulé

  • Albert C. Ludolph

  • Elmar H. Pinkhardt

  • Jan Kassubek

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