Decreased resting-state functional connectivity and brain network abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex of elderly patients with Parkinson's disease accompanied by depressive symptoms

Glob Health Med. 2024 Apr 30;6(2):132-140. doi: 10.35772/ghm.2023.01043.


This study aimed to explore the brain network characteristics in elderly patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) with depressive symptoms. Thirty elderly PD patients with depressive symptoms (PD-D) and 26 matched PD patients without depressive symptoms (PD-NOD) were recruited based on HAMD-24 with a cut-off of 7. The resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) was conducted by 53-channel functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). There were no statistically significant differences in MMSE scores, disease duration, Hoehn-Yahr stage, daily levodopa equivalent dose, and MDS-UPDRS III between the two groups. However, compared to the PD-NOD group, the PD-D group showed significantly higher MDS-UPDRS II, HAMA-14, and HAMD-24. The interhemispheric FC strength and the FC strength between the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC-L) and the left frontal polar area (FPA-L) was significantly lower in the PD-D group (FDR p < 0.05). As for graph theoretic metrics, the PD-D group had significantly lower degree centrality (aDc) and node efficiency (aNe) in the DLPFC-L and the FPA-L (FDR, p < 0.05), as well as decreased global efficiency (aEg). Pearson correlation analysis indicated moderate negative correlations between HAMD-24 scores and the interhemispheric FC strength, FC between DLPFC-L and FPA-L, aEg, aDc in FPA-L, aNe in DLPFC-L and FPA-L. In conclusion, PD-D patients show decreased integration and efficiency in their brain networks. Furthermore, RSFC between DLPFC-L and FPA-L regions is negatively correlated with depressive symptoms. These findings propose that targeting DLPFC-L and FPA-L regions via non-invasive brain stimulation may be a potential intervention for alleviating depressive symptoms in elderly PD patients.

Keywords: Parkinson's disease; depressive symptoms; functional connectivity; functional near-infrared spectroscopy; prefrontal lobe.