How does the corpus callosum contribute to Parkinson’s disease dementia?

White matter abnormalities in the corpus callosum with cognitive impairment in Parkinson disease.

Bledsoe IO, Stebbins GT, Merkitch D, Goldman JG.

Neurology 2018 (Epub ahead of print)



To evaluate microstructural characteristics of the corpus callosum using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and their relationships to cognitive impairment in Parkinson disease (PD).


Seventy-five participants with PD and 24 healthy control (HC) participants underwent structural MRI brain scans including DTI sequences and clinical and neuropsychological evaluations. Using Movement Disorder Society criteria, PD participants were classified as having normal cognition (PD-NC, n = 23), mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI, n = 35), or dementia (PDD, n = 17). Cognitive domain (attention/working memory, executive function, language, memory, visuospatial function) z scores were calculated. DTI scalar values, including fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD), and radial diffusivity (RD), were established for 5 callosal segments on a midsagittal plane, single slice using a topographically derived parcellation method. Scalar values were compared among participant groups. Regression analyses were performed on cognitive domain z scores and DTI metrics.


Participants with PD showed increased AD values in the anterior 3 callosal segments compared to healthy controls. Participants with PDD had significantly increased AD, MD, and RD in the anterior 2 segments compared to participants with PD-NC and most anterior segment compared to participants with PD-MCI. FA values did not differ significantly between participants with PD and participants with HC or among PD cognitive groups. The strongest associations for the DTI metrics and cognitive performance occurred in the most anterior and most posterior callosal segments, and also reflected fronto-striatal and posterior cortical type cognitive deficits, respectively.


Microstructural white matter abnormalities of the corpus callosum, as measured by DTI, may contribute to PD cognitive impairment by disrupting information transfer across interhemispheric and callosal-cortical projections.


See also:

Goldman JG, Bledsoe IO, Merkitch D, Dinh V, Bernard B, Stebbins GT. Corpus callosal atrophy and associations with cognitive impairment in Parkinson disease. Neurology 2017; 88:1265-1272.

Both references are cited in the neurochecklist:

Parkinson’s disease (PD): miscellaneous non-motor features

Abstract link 1

Abstract link 2

Sagittal T1 Midline MRI Scan of Reigh’s Brain. Reigh LeBlanc on Flikr.

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