The neural correlates of specific executive dysfunctions in Parkinson's disease

Acta Neurobiol Exp (Wars). 2014;74(4):465-78.


Several functional neuroimaging studies in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) have suggested that changes in the fronto-parietal-striatal networks are associated with deficits in executive functioning. However, executive functions (EF) are multifaceted and include three dissociable components: working memory, response inhibition, and task-switching. This study investigated which component of executive functioning is most strongly associated with fronto-parietal-striatal efficiency in PD. PD patients (with and without executive dysfunction), and age-matched healthy subjects, completed a battery of cognitive tests previously shown to discriminate among the three EF components. Principal component analysis conducted on the selected cognitive test variables yielded three expected EF components. The component scores were used in regression analysis to assess the relationship between the EF efficiency and blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signal related to performing the n-back, an experimental task that draws upon multiple components of executive functioning: working memory, response inhibition, and task-switching. We found distinct neural correlates of specific executive dysfunctions in patients with PD. However, all of them seem to be associated with fronto-parietal-striatal efficiency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / pathology*
  • Executive Function / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Parkinson Disease / complications*
  • Principal Component Analysis


  • Oxygen