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Keywords:

  • Parkinson's disease;
  • functional connectivity;
  • resting state;
  • rostral supplementary motor area;
  • primary motor cortex

Abstract

Parkinson's disease (PD) patients have difficulty in initiating movements. Previous studies have suggested that the abnormal brain activity may happen not only during performance of self-initiated movements but also in the before movement (baseline or resting) state. In the current study, we investigated the functional connectivity of brain networks in the resting state in PD. We chose the rostral supplementary motor area (pre-SMA) and bilateral primary motor cortex (M1) as “seed” regions, because the pre-SMA is important in motor preparation, whereas the M1 is critical in motor execution. FMRIs were acquired in 18 patients and 18 matched controls. We found that in the resting state, the pattern of connectivity with both the pre-SMA or the M1 was changed in PD. Connectivity with the pre-SMA in patients with PD compared to normal subjects was increased connectivity to the right M1 and decreased to the left putamen, right insula, right premotor cortex, and left inferior parietal lobule. We only found stronger connectivity in the M1 with its own local region in patients with PD compared to controls. Our findings demonstrate that the interactions of brain networks are abnormal in PD in the resting state. There are more connectivity changes of networks related to motor preparation and initiation than to networks of motor execution in PD. We postulate that these disrupted connections indicate a lack of readiness for movement and may be partly responsible for difficulty in initiating movements in PD. Hum Brain Mapp, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.