White matter alterations in Parkinson’s disease with normal cognition precede grey matter atrophy

Ivan Rektor, Alena Svátková, Lubomir Vojtíšek, Iva Zikmundová, Jirí Vaníček, András Király, Nikoletta Szabó

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25 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction While progressive MRI brain changes characterize advanced Parkinson’s disease (PD), little has been discovered about structural alterations in the earliest phase of the disease, i.e. in patients with motor symptoms and with normal cognition. Our study aimed to detect grey matter (GM) and white matter (WM) changes in PD patients without cognitive impairment. Methods Twenty PD patients and twenty-one healthy controls (HC) were tested for attention, executive function, working memory, and visuospatial and language domains. High-resolution T1-weighted and 60 directional diffusion-weighted 3T MRI images were acquired. The cortical, deep GM and WM volumes and density, as well as the diffusion properties of WM, were calculated. Analyses were repeated on data flipped to the side of the disease origin. Results PD patients did not show any significant differences from HC in cognitive functioning or in brain volumes. Decreased GM intensity was found in the left superior parietal lobe in the right (p<0.02) and left (p<0.01) flipped data. The analysis of original, un-flipped data demonstrated elevated axial diffusivity (p<0.01) in the superior and anterior corona radiata, internal capsule, and external capsule in the left hemisphere of PD relative to HC, while higher mean and radial diffusivity were discovered in the right (p<0.02 and p<0.03, respectively) and left (p<0.02 and p<0.02, respectively) in the fronto-temporal WM utilizing flipped data. Conclusions PD patients without cognitive impairment and GM atrophy demonstrated widespread alterations of WM microstructure. Thus, WM impairment in PD might be a sensitive sign preceding the neuronal loss in associated GM regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0187939
JournalPloS one
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Support was provided by the project CEITEC 2020 (LQ1601) from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic and from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, Award Number UL1TR000114 (to AS) and European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 691110 (MICROBRADAM). We acknowledge the core facility MAFIL of CEITEC supported by the MEYS CR (LM2015062 Czech-BioImaging). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The authors wish to thank Jana Víšková and Petr Mikulenka who assisted with the data acquisition. Peter Mikulenka participated in the first stages of data processing; he cannot be listed among the authors as he left the department and could not be contacted to approve the manuscript. Support was provided by the project CEITEC 2020 (LQ1601) from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic and from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, Award Number UL1TR000114 (to AS) and European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 691110 (MICROBRADAM). We acknowledge the core facility MAFIL of CEITEC supported by the MEYS CR (LM2015062 Czech-BioImaging). On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

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