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Neurology. 2010 Sep 7;75(10):857-63. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181f11c1d. Epub 2010 Aug 4.

Regional patterns of brain tissue loss associated with depression in Parkinson disease.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia.



To investigate, using MRI and voxel-based morphometry (VBM), whether specific patterns of gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) loss are associated with depression in patients with Parkinson disease (PD).


Forty patients with PD and 26 healthy subjects were studied. Patients were diagnosed with depression using DSM-IV criteria. The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) was administered to patients. The topographic distribution of brain tissue loss in patients with PD and controls was assessed using VBM as implemented in Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM5).


Twenty-four patients with PD were diagnosed as nondepressed (PD-NDep) and 16 as having depression (PD-Dep). Patient groups were similar in terms of clinical findings, except for the HDRS score (p < 0.001). Compared to controls, patients with PD showed common GM loss in the right anterior cingulate (AC) cortex and insula, and in the left middle frontal and angular gyri (p < 0.001). No regions of WM loss common to PD-NDep and PD-Dep patients relative to healthy controls were found. PD-Dep vs PD-NDep patients showed WM loss in the right AC bundle and inferior orbitofrontal (OF) region (p < 0.001). In patients with PD, HDRS score correlated with WM loss in the right inferior OF region (r = -0.51, p < 0.05).


Tissue loss in several WM regions within the cortical-limbic network occurs in PD-Dep vs PD-NDep patients. Such pattern of brain atrophy overlaps with key regions involved in major depressive disorders, suggesting an increased vulnerability of this neural circuit in PD. This may partially account for the high prevalence of depression in PD.

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