Progressive brain atrophy and clinical evolution in Parkinson's disease: NeuroImage: Clinical

M. Filippi, E. Sarasso, N. Piramide, T. Stojkovic, I. Stankovic, S. Basaia, A. Fontana, A. Tomic, V. Markovic, E. Stefanova, V.S. Kostic, F. Agosta

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Clinical manifestations and evolution are very heterogeneous among individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD). The aims of this study were to investigate the pattern of progressive brain atrophy in PD according to disease stage and to elucidate to what extent cortical thinning and subcortical atrophy are related to clinical motor and non-motor evolution. 154 patients at different PD stages were assessed over time using motor, non-motor and structural MRI evaluations for a maximum of 4 years. Cluster analysis defined clinical subtypes. Cortical thinning and subcortical atrophy were assessed at baseline in patients relative to 60 healthy controls. Longitudinal trends of brain atrophy progression were compared between PD clusters. The contribution of brain atrophy in predicting motor, non-motor, cognitive and mood deterioration was explored. Two main PD clusters were defined: mild (N = 87) and moderate-to-severe (N = 67). Two mild subtypes were further identified: mild motor-predominant (N = 43) and mild-diffuse (N = 44), with the latter group being older and having more severe non-motor and cognitive symptoms. The initial pattern of brain atrophy was more severe in patients with moderate-to-severe PD. Over time, mild-diffuse PD patients had the greatest brain atrophy accumulation in the cortex and the left hippocampus, while less distributed atrophy progression was observed in moderate-to-severe and mild motor-predominant patients. Baseline and 1-year cortical thinning was associated with long-term progression of motor, cognitive, non-motor and mood symptoms. Cortical and subcortical atrophy is accelerated early after the onset of PD and becomes prominent in later stages of disease according to the development of cognitive, non-motor and mood dysfunctions. Structural MRI may be useful for monitoring and predicting disease progression in PD. © 2020 The Authors
Original languageEnglish
Article number102374
JournalNeuroImage Clin.
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Atrophy
  • Clinical clusters
  • Clinical progression
  • Parkinson's disease
  • adult
  • aged
  • Article
  • brain atrophy
  • brain cortex
  • cognition
  • controlled study
  • cortical thickness (brain)
  • disease exacerbation
  • evolution
  • female
  • follow up
  • human
  • left hippocampus
  • longitudinal study
  • major clinical study
  • male
  • mood
  • neuroimaging
  • nuclear magnetic resonance imaging
  • Parkinson disease
  • priority journal
  • prospective study


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