The pathology of Parkinson's disease (PD) is not confined to the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway, but also involves widespread cerebral cortical areas. Such non-nigrostriatal lesions may contribute to disabling dopa-resistant parkinsonian motor deficits. We performed cortical thickness analysis to identify cerebral cortical brain areas in which thickness correlates with the severity of parkinsonian motor deficits. We performed T1-weighted brain magnetic resonance imaging studies in 142 PD patients. Motor scores on the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) were measured, and subscores were calculated for bradykinesia, rigidity, tremor, and axial motor deficits. Using FreeSurfer software, we studied cortical areas in which thickness correlates with disease duration or the severity of parkinsonian motor deficits. The cortical thickness of the parieto-temporal association cortex, including the inferior parietal and posterior parietal cortices, showed a negative correlation with disease duration, total UPDRS motor score, and UPDRS subscores for bradykinesia and axial motor deficits. We found no cortical areas in which thickness correlated with subscores for tremor and rigidity. In addition to nigrostriatal dopaminergic deficit, progressive thinning of the parieto-temporal sensory association cortices related to disease duration seems to be related in part to the exacerbation of bradykinesia and the axial motor symptoms of PD.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology