Parkinson's disease (PD) is associated with abnormal synchronization in basal ganglia-thalamo-cortical loops. We tested whether early PD patients without demonstrable cognitive impairment exhibit abnormal modulation of functional connectivity at rest, while engaged in a task, or both. PD and healthy controls underwent two functional MRI scans: a resting-state scan and a Stroop Match-to-Sample task scan. Rest-task modulation of basal ganglia (BG) connectivity was tested using seed-to-voxel connectivity analysis with task and rest time series as conditions. Despite substantial overlap of BG-cortical connectivity patterns in both groups, connectivity differences between groups had clinical and behavioral correlates. During rest, stronger putamen-medial parietal and pallidum-occipital connectivity in PD than controls was associated with worse task performance and more severe PD symptoms suggesting that abnormalities in resting-state connectivity denote neural network dedifferentiation. During the executive task, PD patients showed weaker BG-cortical connectivity than controls, i.e., between caudate-supramarginal gyrus and pallidum-inferior prefrontal regions, that was related to more severe PD symptoms and worse task performance. Yet, task processing also evoked stronger striatal-cortical connectivity, specifically between caudate-prefrontal, caudate-precuneus, and putamen-motor/premotor regions in PD relative to controls, which was related to less severe PD symptoms and better performance on the Stroop task. Thus, stronger task-evoked striatal connectivity in PD demonstrated compensatory neural network enhancement to meet task demands and improve performance levels. fMRI-based network analysis revealed that despite resting-state BG network compromise in PD, BG connectivity to prefrontal, premotor, and precuneus regions can be adequately invoked during executive control demands enabling near normal task performance.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s11682-014-9317-9
View details for PubMedID 25280970
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4385510