This study seeks a better understanding of possible pathophysiological mechanisms associated with cognitive impairment and dementia in Parkinson's disease using structural and functional MRI. We investigated resting-state functional connectivity of important subdivisions of the caudate nucleus, putamen and thalamus, and also how the morphology of these structures are impacted in the disorder. We found cognitively unimpaired Parkinson's disease subjects (n = 33), compared to controls (n = 26), display increased functional connectivity of the dorsal caudate, anterior putamen and mediodorsal thalamic subdivisions with areas across the frontal lobe, as well as reduced functional connectivity of the dorsal caudate with posterior cortical and cerebellar regions. Compared to cognitively unimpaired subjects, those with mild cognitive impairment (n = 22) demonstrated reduced functional connectivity of the mediodorsal thalamus with the paracingulate cortex, while also demonstrating increased functional connectivity of the mediodorsal thalamus with the posterior cingulate cortex, compared to subjects with dementia (n = 17). Extensive volumetric and surface-based deflation was found in subjects with dementia compared to cognitively unimpaired Parkinson's disease participants and controls. Our research suggests that structures within basal ganglia-thalamocortical circuits are implicated in cognitive impairment and dementia in Parkinson's disease, with cognitive impairment and dementia associated with a breakdown in functional connectivity of the mediodorsal thalamus with para- and posterior cingulate regions of the brain respectively.
Keywords: Functional magnetic resonance imaging; Magnetic resonance imaging; Mild cognitive impairment; Morphology.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.