The interplay between structural and functional connectivity in early stage Parkinson's disease patients

Amgad Droby, Shai Nosatzki, Yariv Edry, Avner Thaler, Nir Giladi, Anat Mirelman, Inbal Maidan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The mechanisms underlying cognitive disturbances in Parkinson's disease (PD) are poorly understood but likely to depend on the ongoing degenerative processes affecting structural and functional connectivity (FC). This pilot study examined patterns of FC alterations during a cognitive task using EEG and structural characteristics of white matter (WM) pathways connecting these activated regions in early-stage PD. Eleven PD patients and nine healthy controls (HCs) underwent EEG recording during an auditory oddball task and MRI scans. Source localization was performed and Gaussian mixture model was fitted to identify brain regions with high power during task performance. These areas served as seed regions for connectivity analysis. FC among these regions was assessed by measures of magnitude squared coherence (MSC), and phase-locking value (PLV), while structural connectivity was evaluated using fiber tracking based on diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). The paracentral lobule (PL), superior parietal lobule (SPL), superior and middle frontal gyrus (SMFG), parahippocampal gyrus, superior and middle temporal gyri (STG, MTG) demonstrated increased activation during task performance. Compared to HCs, PD showed lower FC between SMFG and PL and between SMFG and SPL in MSC (p = 0.012 and p = 0.036 respectively). No significant differences between the groups were observed in PLV and the measured DTI metrics along WM tracts. These findings demonstrate that in early PD, cognitive performance changes might be attributed to FC alterations, suggesting that FC is affected early on in the degenerative process, whereas structural damage is more prominent in advanced stages as a result of the disease burden accumulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120452
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognition
  • DTI
  • EEG
  • Functional connectivity
  • Parkinson's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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