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Mild cognitive impairment is linked with faster rate of cortical thinning in patients with Parkinson’s disease longitudinally

Alexandru Hanganu, Christophe Bedetti, Clotilde Degroot, Béatriz Mejia-Constain, Anne-Louise Lafontaine, Valérie Soland, Sylvain Chouinard, Marie-Andrée Bruneau, Samira Mellah, Sylvie Belleville, Oury Monchi
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awu036 1120-1129 First published online: 10 March 2014

Summary

Previous studies have shown greater atrophy in grey and white matter of various brain regions in patients with Parkinson’s disease with mild cognitive impairment than in those without. These anatomical differences likely account for the distinct clinical profiles observed between those groups, but do not account for the evolution of regional brain degradation observed as the disease evolves. Although we have shown recently that cortical thinning correlates significantly more with disease duration in Parkinson’s patients with mild cognitive impairment than in those without, to the best of our knowledge no study to date has explored this longitudinally. The present study investigated the longitudinal changes of the cortical and subcortical grey matter in patients with Parkinson’s disease with and without mild cognitive impairment. Additionally, these two groups were compared with healthy controls. We found a higher rate of cortical thinning in the temporal, occipital, parietal and supplementary motor area, in patients with Parkinson’s disease with mild cognitive impairment compared with both cognitively stable patients and healthy controls. On the other hand cognitively stable patients had only one lateral occipital and one fusiform cluster with increased rate of thinning compared with healthy individuals. Correlating the rate of change of cortical thickness with the results of Montreal Cognitive Assessment scores revealed significant thinning associated with cognitive decline in the group of all patients, in similar regions including temporal and medial occipital lobe. Finally, a significant decrease in the volume of the amygdala and nucleus accumbens was observed specifically in patients with Parkinson’s disease with mild cognitive impairment. These results indicate that the early presence of mild cognitive impairment in patients with Parkinson’s disease is associated with a faster rate of grey matter thinning in various cortical regions as well as a significant diminishment of limbic subcortical structures. This specific pattern of brain degradation associated with the early presence of mild cognitive impairment might serve as a marker of development toward dementia.

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • longitudinal
  • corticometry
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • Abbreviation
    MCI
    mild cognitive impairment
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