Date: 13 May 2014

Imaging changes associated with cognitive abnormalities in Parkinson’s disease

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Abstract

The current study investigates both gray and white matter changes in non-demented Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients with varying degrees of mild cognitive deficits and elucidates the relationships between the structural changes and clinical sequelae of PD. Twenty-six PD patients and 15 healthy controls (HCs) were enrolled in the study. Participants underwent T1-weighted and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) scans. Their cognition was assessed using a neuropsychological battery. Compared with HCs, PD patients showed significant cortical thinning in sensorimotor (left pre- and postcentral gyri) and cognitive (left dorsolateral superior frontal gyrus [DLSFG]) regions. The DLSFG cortical thinning correlated with executive and global cognitive impairment in PD patients. PD patients showed white matter abnormalities as well, primarily in bilateral frontal and temporal regions, which also correlated with executive and global cognitive impairment. These results seem to suggest that both gray and white matter changes in the frontal regions may constitute an early pathological substrate of cognitive impairment of PD providing a sensitive biomarker for brain changes in PD.