Altered white matter microarchitecture in Parkinson’s disease: a voxel-based meta-analysis of diffusion tensor imaging studies
This study aimed to define the most consistent white matter microarchitecture pattern in Parkinson’s disease (PD) reflected by fractional anisotropy (FA), addressing clinical profiles and methodology-related heterogeneity. Web-based publication databases were searched to conduct a meta-analysis of whole-brain diffusion tensor imaging studies comparing PD with healthy controls (HC) using the anisotropic effect size–signed differential mapping. A total of 808 patients with PD and 760 HC coming from 27 databases were finally included. Subgroup analyses were conducted considering heterogeneity with respect to medication status, disease stage, analysis methods, and the number of diffusion directions in acquisition. Compared with HC, patients with PD had decreased FA in the left middle cerebellar peduncle, corpus callosum (CC), left inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, and right inferior longitudinal fasciculus. Most of the main results remained unchanged in subgroup meta-analyses of medicated patients, early stage patients, voxel-based analysis, and acquisition with ＜30 diffusion directions. The subgroup meta-analysis of medication-free patients showed FA decrease in the right olfactory cortex. The cerebellum and CC, associated with typical motor impairment, showed the most consistent FA decreases in PD. Medication status, analysis approaches, and the number of diffusion directions have an important impact on the findings, needing careful evaluation in future meta-analyses.
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