Background: The different effects of white matter hyperintensity (WMH) severity and WMH-associated microstructural connectivity on cognition in the early stages of Parkinson's disease (PD) have not been investigated. Objective: To investigate the differential effect of WMH severity and WMH-associated microstructural connectivity on cognition in early stages of PD. Methods: A total of 136 de novo PD patients were enrolled and divided into groups based on total WMH visual rating scores as follows: mild, moderate, and severe. Microstructural connectivity was measured using graph theoretical analysis according to WMH severity. Additionally, correlation coefficients between WMH-associated microstructural connectivity or WMH scores and cognitive performance were assessed. Results: Patients with severe WMHs demonstrated poorer performance in language function than those with moderate WMHs, and in frontal/executive and visual memory function than those with mild WMHs. Areas of microstructural connectivity were more extensive in patients with severe WMHs compared to those with mild and moderate WMHs, involving frontal and parieto-temporal regions. WMH-associated right fronto-temporo-parietal microstructural disintegration was correlated with cognitive dysfunction in attention, frontal/executive, and memory domains, whereas there was no correlation between WMH scores and any cognitive domains. Conclusion: These data suggest that disruption of microstructural networks by WMHs, rather than WMH burden itself, contributed more to cognitive impairment in PD.
- Diffusion tensor imaging
- Microstructural connectivity
- Parkinson's disease
- White matter hyperintensities
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience