Brain network characteristics and cognitive performance in motor subtypes of Parkinson's disease: A resting state fMRI study

Amée F. Wolters, Stijn Michielse, Mark L. Kuijf, Luc Defebvre, Renaud Lopes, Kathy Dujardin, Albert F.G. Leentjens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a heterogeneous disorder with great variability in motor and non-motor manifestations. It is hypothesized that different motor subtypes are characterized by different neuropsychiatric and cognitive symptoms, but the underlying correlates in cerebral connectivity remain unknown. Our aim is to compare brain network connectivity between the postural instability and gait disorder (PIGD) and tremor-dominant (TD) subtypes, using both a within- and between-network analysis.
This cross-sectional resting-state fMRI study includes 81 PD patients, 54 belonging to the PIGD and 27 to the TD subgroup. Group-level spatial maps were created using independent component analysis. Differences in functional connectivity were investigated using dual regression analysis and inter-network connectivity analysis. An additional voxel-based morphometry analysis was performed to examine if results were influenced by grey matter atrophy.
The PIGD subgroup scored worse than the TD subgroup on all cognitive domains. Resting-state fMRI network analyses suggested that the connection between the visual and sensorimotor network is a potential differentiator between PIGD and TD subgroups. However, after correcting for dopaminergic medication use these results were not significant anymore. There was no between-group difference in grey matter volume.
Despite clear motor and cognitive differences between the PIGD and TD subtypes, no significant differences were found in network connectivity. Methodological challenges, substantial symptom heterogeneity and many involved variables make analyses and hypothesis building around PD subtypes highly complex. More sensitive visualisation methods combined with machine learning approaches may be required in the search for characteristic underpinnings of PD subtypes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-38
Number of pages7
JournalParkinsonism & Related Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


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