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Journal Article

Brain connectivity changes when comparing effects of subthalamic deep brain stimulation with levodopa treatment in Parkinson's disease

MPS-Authors
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Mueller,  Karsten
Methods and Development Unit Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Holiga,  Štefan
Methods and Development Unit Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Ballarini,  Tommaso
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Möller,  Harald E.
Methods and Development Unit Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Schroeter,  Matthias L.
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Mueller_Jech_2018.pdf
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Citation

Mueller, K., Jech, R., Růžička, F., Holiga, Š., Ballarini, T., Bezdicek, O., et al. (2018). Brain connectivity changes when comparing effects of subthalamic deep brain stimulation with levodopa treatment in Parkinson's disease. NeuroImage: Clinical, 19, 1025-1035. doi:10.1016/j.nicl.2018.05.006.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-BAF8-6
Abstract
Levodopa and, later, deep brain stimulation (DBS) have become the mainstays of therapy for motor symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease (PD). Although these therapeutic options lead to similar clinical outcomes, the neural mechanisms underlying their efficacy are different. Therefore, investigating the differential effects of DBS and levodopa on functional brain architecture and associated motor improvement is of paramount interest. Namely, we expected changes in functional brain connectivity patterns when comparing levodopa treatment with DBS. Clinical assessment and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was performed before and after implanting electrodes for DBS in the subthalamic nucleus (STN) in 13 PD patients suffering from severe levodopa-induced motor fluctuations and peak-of-dose dyskinesia. All measurements were acquired in a within subject-design with and without levodopa treatment, and with and without DBS. Brain connectivity changes were computed using eigenvector centrality (EC) that offers a data-driven and parameter-free approach—similarly to Google's PageRank algorithm—revealing brain regions that have an increased connectivity to other regions that are highly connected, too. Both levodopa and DBS led to comparable improvement of motor symptoms as measured with the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale motor score (UPDRS-III). However, this similar therapeutic effect was underpinned by different connectivity modulations within the motor system. In particular, EC revealed a major increase of interconnectedness in the left and right motor cortex when comparing DBS to levodopa. This was accompanied by an increase of connectivity of these motor hubs with the thalamus and cerebellum. We observed, for the first time, significant functional connectivity changes when comparing the effects of STN DBS and oral levodopa administration, revealing different treatment-specific mechanisms linked to clinical benefit in PD. Specifically, in contrast to levodopa treatment, STN DBS was associated with increased connectivity within the cortico-thalamo-cerebellar network. Moreover, given the favorable effects of STN DBS on motor complications, the changes in the patients' clinical profile might also contribute to connectivity changes associated with STN-DBS. Understanding the observed connectivity changes may be essential for enhancing the effectiveness of DBS treatment, and for better defining the pathophysiology of the disrupted motor network in PD.