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Mov Disord. 2010 Oct 15;25(13):2035-43. doi: 10.1002/mds.23360.

Blood oxygenation level-dependent activation in basal ganglia nuclei relates to specific symptoms in de novo Parkinson's disease.

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Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.


To aid the development of symptomatic and disease modifying therapies in Parkinson's disease (PD), there is a strong need to identify noninvasive measures of basal ganglia (BG) function that are sensitive to disease severity. This study examines the relation between blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) activation in every nucleus of the BG and symptom-specific disease severity in early stage de novo PD. BOLD activation measured at 3 T was compared between 20 early stage de novo PD patients and 20 controls during an established precision grip force task. In addition to the BG nuclei, activation in specific thalamic and cortical regions was examined. There were three novel findings. First, there were significant negative correlations between total motor Unified PD Rating Scale and BOLD activation in bilateral caudate, bilateral putamen, contralateral external segment of the globus pallidus, bilateral subthalamic nucleus, contralateral substantia nigra, and thalamus. Second, bradykinesia was the symptom that most consistently predicted BOLD activation in the BG and thalamus. Also, BOLD activation in the contralateral internal globus pallidus was related to tremor. Third, the reduced cortical activity in primary motor cortex and supplementary motor area in de novo PD did not relate to motor symptoms. These findings demonstrate that BOLD activity in nuclei of the BG relates most consistently to bradykinesia and functional magnetic resonance imaging has strong potential to serve as a noninvasive marker for the state of BG function in de novo PD.

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