Brain Behav. 2022 Nov 24:e2825. doi: 10.1002/brb3.2825. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) present various responsiveness to levodopa, but the cause of such differences in levodopa responsiveness is unclear. Previous studies related the damage of brain white matter (WM) to levodopa responsiveness in PD patients, but no study investigated the relationship between the structural brain network change in PD patients and their levodopa responsiveness.
METHODS: PD patients were recruited and evaluated using the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). Each patient received a diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) scan and an acute levodopa challenge test. The improvement rate of UPDRS-III was calculated. PD patients were grouped into irresponsive group (improvement rate < 30%) and responsive group (improvement rate ≥ 30%). Tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS), deterministic tracing (DT), region of interest (ROI) analysis, and automatic fiber identification (AFQ) analyses were performed. The structural brain network was also constructed and the topological parameters were calculated.
RESULTS: Fifty-four PD patients were included. TBSS identified significant differences in fractional anisotropy (FA) values in the corpus callosum and other regions of the brain. DT and ROI analysis of the corpus callosum found a significant difference in FA between the two groups. Graph theory analysis showed statistical differences in global efficiency, local efficiency, and characteristic path length.
CONCLUSION: PD patients with poor responsiveness to levodopa had WM damage in multiple brain areas, especially the corpus callosum, which might cause disruption of information integration of the structural brain network.