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Hum Brain Mapp. 2016 Feb;37(2):648-62. doi: 10.1002/hbm.23056. Epub 2015 Nov 14.

Resting-state functional connectivity of the striatum in early-stage Parkinson's disease: Cognitive decline and motor symptomatology.

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Department of Psychology, Integrative Neuroscience Program, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York.
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
Department of Neurobiology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.


Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by changes to dopaminergic function in the striatum and a range of cognitive and motor deficits. Neuroimaging studies have repeatedly shown differences in activation and functional connectivity patterns of the striatum between symptomatic individuals with Parkinson's disease and healthy controls. However, the presence and severity of cognitive and motor symptoms seem to differ dramatically among individuals with Parkinson's disease at the early-stages. To investigate the neural basis of such heterogeneity, we examined the resting state functional connectivity patterns of caudate and putamen subdivisions in relation to cognitive and motor impairments among 62 early-stage individuals with Parkinson's disease (21 females, 23 drug naive, ages 39-77 years, average UPDRS motor scores off medication = 18.56, average H&Y stage = 1.66). We also explored how changes in striatal connectivity relate to changes in symptomatology over a year. There are two main findings. First, higher motor deficit rating was associated with weaker coupling between anterior putamen and midbrain including substantia nigra. Intriguingly, steeper declines in functional connectivity between these regions were associated with greater declines in motor function over the course of 1 year. Second, decline in cognitive function, particularly in the memory and visuospatial domains, was associated with stronger coupling between the dorsal caudate and the rostral anterior cingulate cortex. These findings remained significant after controlling for age, medication, gender, and education. In sum, our findings suggest that cognitive decline and motor deficit are each associated with a differentiable pattern of functional connectivity of striatal subregions. Hum Brain Mapp 37:648-662, 2016.


basal ganglia; caudate nucleus; cognition; executive function; fMRI; movement disorders; putamen; substantia nigra

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