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Neurosci Lett. 2013 Aug 9;549:24-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2013.05.080. Epub 2013 Jun 13.

Changes in spontaneous brain activity in early Parkinson's disease.

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Department of Radiology, First Affiliated Hospital of College of Medical Science, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.


Resting state brain activity can provide valuable insights into the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease (PD). The purpose of the present study was (a) to investigate abnormal spontaneous neuronal activity in early PD patients using resting-state functional MRI (fMRI) with a regional homogeneity (ReHo) method and (b) to demonstrate the potential of using changes in abnormal spontaneous neuronal activity for monitoring the progression of PD during its early stages. Seventeen early PD patients were assessed with the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), the Hoehn and Yahr disability scale and the Mini-mental State Examination (MMSE) were compared with seventeen gender- and age-matched healthy controls. All subjects underwent MRI scans using a 1.5T General Electric Signa Excite II scanner. The MRI scan protocol included whole-brain volumetric imaging using a 3D inversion recovery prepared (IR-Prep) fast spoiled gradient-echo pulse sequence and 2D multi-slice (22 axial slices covering the whole brain) resting-state fMRI using an echo planar imaging (EPI) sequence. Images were analyzed in SPM5 together with a ReHo algorithm using the in-house software program REST. A corrected threshold of p<0.05 was determined by AlphaSim and used in statistical analysis. Compared with the healthy controls, the early PD group showed significantly increased ReHo in a number of brain regions, including the left cerebellum, left parietal lobe, right middle temporal lobe, right sub-thalamic nucleus areas, right superior frontal gyrus, middle frontal gyrus (MFG), right inferior parietal lobe (IPL), right precuneus lobe, left MFG and left IPL. Additionally, significantly reduced ReHo was also observed in the early PD patients in the following brain regions: the left putamen, left inferior frontal gyrus, right hippocampus, right anterior cingulum, and bilateral lingual gyrus. Moreover, in PD patients, ReHo in the left putamen was negatively correlated with the UPDRS scores (r=-0.69). These results indicate that the abnormal resting state spontaneous brain activity associated with patients with early PD can be revealed by Reho analysis.


Parkinson's disease; Resting state fMRI; Spontaneous brain activity

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