Claustral structural connectivity and cognitive impairment in drug naïve Parkinson's disease

Alessandro Arrigo, Alessandro Calamuneri, Demetrio Milardi, Enricomaria Mormina, Michele Gaeta, Francesco Corallo, Viviana Lo Buono, Gaetana Chillemi, Silvia Marino, Alberto Cacciola, Giuseppe Di Lorenzo, Giuseppina Rizzo, Giuseppe Pio Anastasi, Angelo Quartarone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The claustrum is a thin grey matter structure which is involved in a wide brain network. Previous studies suggested a link between claustrum and Parkinson's Disease (PD), showing how α-synuclein pathology may affect claustral neurons as well as how α-synuclein immunoreactivity may correlate with the onset of cognitive dysfunctions. Our aim is to investigate, via diffusion MRI, claustral structural network changes in drug naïve PD patients, with the goal to understand whether such changes may contribute to cognitive decline in PD. 15 drug naïve PD patients and 15 age-matched controls were enrolled; MR protocol was performed on a 3T scanner. Whole brain probabilistic tractography was obtained using Constrained Spherical Deconvolution (CSD) diffusion model. Connectivity matrices were estimated based on a robust anatomical parcellation of structural T1w images. In PD group, impaired subnetworks were correlated with psychological examinations. We found decreased claustral connectivity in PD patients compared to controls, especially with areas mainly involved in visuomotor and attentional systems. Moreover, we found a positive correlation between MoCA and density of pathways connecting ipsilaterally claustrum to left (r = 0.578, p = 0.021) and right (r = 0.640, p = 0.020) Pars Orbitalis. Our results support the hypothesis of claustral involvement in cognitive decline in drug naïve PD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Imaging and Behavior
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jun 18 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Claustral structural connectivity and cognitive impairment in drug naïve Parkinson's disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this