Cortical thinning associated with mild cognitive impairment in Parkinson's disease

Mov Disord. 2014 Oct;29(12):1495-503. doi: 10.1002/mds.25982. Epub 2014 Aug 7.


The aim of this study was to investigate patterns of cortical atrophy associated with mild cognitive impairment in a large sample of nondemented Parkinson's disease (PD) patients, and its relation with specific neuropsychological deficits. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and neuropsychological assessment were performed in a sample of 90 nondemented PD patients and 32 healthy controls. All underwent a neuropsychological battery including tests that assess different cognitive domains: attention and working memory, executive functions, memory, language, and visuoperceptual-visuospatial functions. Patients were classified according to their cognitive status as PD patients without mild cognitive impairment (MCI; n = 43) and PD patients with MCI (n = 47). Freesurfer software was used to obtain maps of cortical thickness for group comparisons and correlation with neuropsychological performance. Patients with MCI showed regional cortical thinning in parietotemporal regions, increased global atrophy (global cortical thinning, total gray matter volume reduction, and ventricular enlargement), as well as significant cognitive impairment in memory, executive, and visuospatial and visuoperceptual domains. Correlation analyses showed that all neuropsychological tests were associated with cortical thinning in parietotemporal regions and to a lesser extent in frontal regions. These results provide neuroanatomic support to the concept of MCI classified according to Movement Disorders Society criteria. The posterior pattern of atrophy in temporoparietal regions could be a structural neuroimaging marker of cognitive impairment in nondemented PD patients. All of the neuropsychological tests reflected regional brain atrophy, but no specific patterns were seen corresponding to impairment in distinct cognitive domains.

Keywords: Parkinson's disease; cognition; cortical thickness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / etiology*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Parkinson Disease / complications*
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Statistics as Topic