BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Studies on functional connectivity in progressive supranuclear palsy have been restricted to the thalamus and midbrain tegmentum. The present study aims to evaluate functional connectivity abnormalities of the subcortical structures in these patients. Functional connectivity will be correlated with motor and nonmotor symptoms of the disease.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Nineteen patients with progressive supranuclear palsy (mean age, 70.93 ± 5.19 years) and 12 age-matched healthy subjects (mean age, 69.17 ± 5.20 years) underwent multimodal MR imaging, including fMRI at rest, 3D T1-weighted imaging, and DTI. fMRI data were processed with fMRI of the Brain Software Library tools by using the dorsal midbrain tegmentum, thalamus, caudate nucleus, putamen, and pallidum as seed regions.
RESULTS: Patients had lower functional connectivity than healthy subjects in all 5 resting-state networks, mainly involving the basal ganglia, thalamus, anterior cingulate, dorsolateral prefrontal and temporo-occipital cortices, supramarginal gyrus, supplementary motor area, and cerebellum. Compared with healthy subjects, patients also displayed subcortical atrophy and DTI abnormalities. Decreased thalamic functional connectivity correlated with clinical scores, as assessed by the Hoehn and Yahr Scale and by the bulbar and mentation subitems of the Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Rating Scale. Decreased pallidum functional connectivity correlated with lower Mini-Mental State Examination scores; decreased functional connectivity in the dorsal midbrain tegmentum network correlated with lower scores in the Frontal Assessment Battery.
CONCLUSIONS: The present study demonstrates a widespread disruption of cortical-subcortical connectivity in progressive supranuclear palsy and provides further insight into the pathophysiologic mechanisms of motor and cognitive impairment in this condition.
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