Cognitive Phenotypes in Parkinson's Disease Differ in Terms of Brain-Network Organization and Connectivity

Renaud Lopes, Christine Delmaire, Luc Defebvre, Anja J. Moonen, Annelien A. Duits, Paul Hofman, Albert F. G. Leentjens, Kathy Dujardin*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Cognitive deficits are common in Parkinson's disease and we suspect that dysfunctions of connected brain regions can be the source of these deficits. The aim of the present study was to investigate changes in whole- brain intrinsic functional connectivity according to differences in cognitive profiles in Parkinson's disease. 119 participants were enrolled and divided into four groups according to their cognitive phenotypes (determined by a cluster analysis): (i) 31 cognitively intact patients (G1), (ii) 31 patients with only slight mental slowing (G2), (iii) 43 patients with mild to moderate deficits mainly in executive functions (G3), (iv) 14 patients with severe deficits in all cognitive domains (G4- 5). RsfMRI whole- brain connectivity was examined by two complementary approaches: graph theory for studying network functional organization and network- based statistics (NBS) for exploring functional connectivity amongst brain regions. After adjustment for age, duration of formal education and center of acquisition, there were significant group differences for all functional organization indexes: functional organization decreased (G1> G2> G3> G4- 5) as cognitive impairment worsened. Between- group differences in functional connectivity (NBS corrected, P<0.01) mainly concerned the ventral prefrontal, parietal, temporal and occipital cortices as well as the basal ganglia. In Parkinson's disease, brain network organization is progressively disrupted as cognitive impairment worsens, with an increasing number of altered connections between brain regions. We observed reduced connectivity in highly associative areas, even in patients with only slight mental slowing. The association of slowed mental processing with loss of connectivity between highly associative areas could be an early marker of cognitive impairment in Parkinson's disease and may contribute to the detection of prodromal forms of Parkinson's disease dementia. (C) 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1604-1621
Number of pages18
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • cognition
  • dementia
  • fMRI
  • resting state connectivity

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