Functional connectivity in Parkinson's disease candidates for deep brain stimulation

NPJ Parkinsons Dis. 2022 Jan 10;8(1):4. doi: 10.1038/s41531-021-00268-6.


This study aimed to identify functional neuroimaging patterns anticipating the clinical indication for deep brain stimulation (DBS) in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). A cohort of prospectively recruited patients with PD underwent neurological evaluations and resting-state functional MRI (RS-fMRI) at baseline and annually for 4 years. Patients were divided into two groups: 19 patients eligible for DBS over the follow-up and 41 patients who did not meet the criteria to undergo DBS. Patients selected as candidates for DBS did not undergo surgery at this stage. Sixty age- and sex-matched healthy controls performed baseline evaluations. Graph analysis and connectomics assessed global and local topological network properties and regional functional connectivity at baseline and at each time point. At baseline, network analysis showed a higher mean nodal strength, local efficiency, and clustering coefficient of the occipital areas in candidates for DBS over time relative to controls and patients not eligible for DBS. The occipital hyperconnectivity pattern was confirmed by regional analysis. At baseline, a decreased functional connectivity between basal ganglia and sensorimotor/frontal networks was found in candidates for DBS compared to patients not eligible for surgery. In the longitudinal analysis, patient candidate for DBS showed a progressively decreased topological brain organization and functional connectivity, mainly in the posterior brain networks, and a progressively increased connectivity of basal ganglia network compared to non-candidates for DBS. RS-fMRI may support the clinical indication to DBS and could be useful in predicting which patients would be eligible for DBS in the earlier stages of PD.