Functional MRI to Study Gait Impairment in Parkinson’s Disease: a Systematic Review and Exploratory ALE Meta-Analysis

  • Moran GilatEmail author
  • Bauke W. Dijkstra
  • Nicholas D’Cruz
  • Alice Nieuwboer
  • Simon J. G. Lewis
Neuroimaging (N. Pavese, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Neuroimaging


Purpose of Review

Whilst gait impairment is a main cause for disability in Parkinson’s disease (PD), its neural control remains poorly understood. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies of surrogate features of gait in PD.


Assessing the results from PET or SPECT scans after a period of actual walking as well as fMRI during mental imagery or virtual reality (VR) gait paradigms, we found a varying pattern of gait-related brain activity. Overall, a decrease in activation of the SMA during gait was found in PD compared to elderly controls. In addition, the meta-analysis showed that the most consistent gait-related activation was situated in the cerebellar locomotor region (CLR) in PD.


Despite methodological heterogeneity, the combined neuroimaging studies of gait provide new insights into its neural control in PD, suggesting that CLR activation likely serves a compensatory role in locomotion.


Parkinson’s disease Gait Neuroimaging Cerebellum Activation of likelihood estimation Meta-analysis 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Robert Hardwick for assisting with the ALE meta-analysis.


MG is supported by a Postdoctoral Mandate of the KU Leuven Internal Fund; AN and BWD are supported by Flanders Research Funds (G086715N), ND is supported by Jacques & Gloria Gossweiler Foundation, SJGL is supported by a NHMRC–Australia Research Council dementia fellowship (#1110414).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Moran Gilat, Bauke W. Dijkstra, Nicholas D’Cruz, Alice Nieuwboer and Simon JG Lewis each declare no potential conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

11910_2019_967_MOESM1_ESM.docx (23 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 23 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Moran Gilat
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bauke W. Dijkstra
    • 1
  • Nicholas D’Cruz
    • 1
  • Alice Nieuwboer
    • 1
  • Simon J. G. Lewis
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Rehabilitation SciencesKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Brain and Mind CentreUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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