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Decreased grey matter in the postural control network is associated with lateral flexion of the trunk in Parkinson's disease

Florian Brugger, Julia Walch, Stefan Hägele-Link, Eugenio Abela, Marian Galovic & Georg Kägi

abstract

BACKGROUND
Disruption of central networks, particularly of those responsible for integrating multimodal afferents in a spatial reference frame, were proposed in the pathophysiology of lateral trunk flexion in Parkinson's disease (PD). Knowledge about the underlying neuroanatomical structures is limited.

OBJECTIVE
To investigate if decreased focal grey matter (GM) is associated with trunk flexion to the side and if the revealed GM clusters correlate with a disturbed perception of verticality in PD.

METHODS
37 PD patients with and without lateral trunk flexion were recruited. Standardized photos were taken from each patient and trunk orientation was measured by a blinded rater. Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) was used to detect associated clusters of decreased GM. The subjective visual vertical (SVV) was assessed as a marker for perception of verticality and SVV estimates were correlated with GM clusters.

RESULTS
VBM revealed clusters of decreased GM in the right posterior parietal cortex and in the right thalamus were associated with lateral trunk flexion. The SVV correlated with the extent of trunk flexion, and the side of the SVV tilt correlated with the side of trunk flexion. GM values from the thalamus correlated with the SVV estimates.

CONCLUSIONS
We report an association between neurodegenerative changes within the posterior parietal cortex and the thalamus and lateral trunk flexion in PD. These brain structures are part of a network proposed to be engaged in postural control and spatial self-perception. Disturbed perception of verticality points to a shifted egocentric spatial reference as an important pathophysiological feature.
   
citation Brugger F, Walch J, Hägele-Link S, Abela E, galovic m, Kägi G. Decreased grey matter in the postural control network is associated with lateral flexion of the trunk in Parkinson's disease. Neuroimage Clin 2020; 28:102469.
   
type journal paper/review (English)
date of publishing 15-10-2020
journal title Neuroimage Clin (28)
ISSN electronic 2213-1582
pages 102469
PubMed 33395964
DOI 10.1016/j.nicl.2020.102469