Disruption of locus coeruleus-related functional networks in Parkinson's disease

NPJ Parkinsons Dis. 2023 May 30;9(1):81. doi: 10.1038/s41531-023-00532-x.


Locus coeruleus (LC) is severely affected in Parkinson's Disease (PD). However, alterations in LC-related resting-state networks (RSNs) in PD remain unclear. We used resting-state functional MRI to investigate the alterations in functional connectivity (FC) of LC-related RSNs and the associations between RSNs changes and clinical features in idiopathic rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (iRBD) and PD patients with (PDRBD+) and without RBD (PDRBD-). There was a similarly disrupted FC pattern of LC-related RSNs in iRBD and PDRBD+ patients, whereas LC-related RSNs were less damaged in PDRBD- patients than that in patients with iRBD and PDRBD+. The FC of LC-related RSNs correlated with cognition and duration in iRBD, depression in PDRBD-, and cognition and severity of RBD in patients with PDRBD+. Our findings demonstrate that LC-related RSNs are significantly disrupted in the prodromal stage of α-synucleinopathies and proposed body-first PD (PDRBD+), but are less affected in brain-first PD (PDRBD-).