Resting state brain activity in Parkinson's disease (PD) can give clues to the pathophysiology of the disorder, and might be helpful in diagnosis, but it has never been explored using functional MRI (fMRI). In the current study, we used a regional homogeneity (ReHo) method to investigate PD-related modulations of neural activity in the resting state. FMRIs were acquired in 22 patients with PD at both before and after levodopa administration, as well as in 22 age- and sex-matched normal controls. In the PD group compared with the healthy controls, we found ReHo decreased in extensive brain regions, including the putamen, thalamus, and supplementary motor area; and increased in some other areas, including the cerebellum, primary sensorimotor cortex, and premotor area. The ReHo off medication was negatively correlated with the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) in the putamen and some other regions, and was positively correlated with the UPDRS in the cerebellum. Administration of levodopa relatively normalized ReHo. Our findings demonstrate that neural activity in the resting state is changed in patients with PD. This change is secondary to dopamine deficiency, and related to the severity of the disease. The different neuronal activity at the baseline state should be considered in explaining fMRI findings obtained during tasks.
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