A cluster-based quantitative procedure in an fMRI study of Parkinson's disease

Maria Antonietta Macrì, Girolamo Garreffa, Federico Giove, Marta Moraschi, Giovanni Giulietti, Nicola Modugno, Claudio Colonnese, Bruno Maraviglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parkinson's disease is a neurological disorder associated with disfunction of dopaminergic pathways of the basal ganglia. In this study, we report the effects of decreasing plasma concentrations of the dopamine-agonist apomorphine on the size and extents of activity clusters observed with functional magnetic resonance imaging during a simple motor task. Eight patients at advanced disease stage and six healthy volunteers were studied during four consecutive sessions. We observed consistent activations in the primary sensorimotor area of the contralateral side and in the supplementary motor area of both patients and controls during the first session. During subsequent sessions, while the drug concentration gradually decreased in patients, they showed a fragmentation of the activity areas, with an overall decrease of involved volume and a decline of activity in the supplementary motor area. The appearing of activity in the ipsilateral motor area matched a partial recovery of supplementary motor area activation. During the last session, when patients showed severe dyskinesia, a widespread region of positive and negative correlations between signal and task was observed. We conclude that the lack of subcortical circuitry is partially reversible by apomorphine and that when the drug effects are reduced, there is a possible mechanism recruitment of alternate subcortical pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-424
Number of pages6
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2006


  • BOLD
  • Cluster
  • Functional MRI
  • Human
  • Parkinson's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Structural Biology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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