Effects of dopaminergic depletion and brain atrophy on neuropsychiatric symptoms in de novo Parkinson’s disease

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Abstract

Background

Neuropsychiatric symptoms impact the patients’ quality of life and caregivers’ burdens in Parkinson’s disease (PD). We aimed to investigate the effects of striatal dopaminergic depletion and brain atrophy on the neuropsychiatric symptoms of patients with PD.

Methods

Two hundred and seven patients with de novo drug-naïve PD underwent dopamine transporter (DAT) positron emission tomography and brain MRI scanning. In addition, the patients were assessed with caregiver-administered neuropsychiatric inventory (NPI) questionnaires. To evaluate the effects of DAT uptake, subcortical volume and cortical thinning on the patients’ neuropsychiatric symptoms, we performed logistic regression and negative binomial regression analyses on the NPI data after controlling for possible confounders.

Results

Frontal cortical thinning was associated with the presence of nighttime behaviour and irritability, and the thinning correlated with the severity of the nighttime behaviour. Temporal cortical thinning was associated with the presence of aggression/agitation, and it correlated with the severity of the aggression/agitation. Subcortical atrophy in the accumbens was associated with the presence of disinhibition and correlated with the severity of the disinhibition. Putamen atrophy and insular thinning were independently associated with the presence of apathy, but only insular thinning correlated with the severity of the apathy. Of the predictors, only frontal cortical thinning correlated with the total NPI score.

Conclusions

The results of this study suggested that accumbens atrophy and frontotemporal cortical thinning, especially frontal cortical thinning, independently contributed to neuropsychiatric symptoms in patients with PD, while DAT uptake did not affect the neuropsychiatric symptoms.

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