Levodopa versus non-levodopa brain language fMRI in Parkinson’s disease
To identify the effect of levodopa in language areas in Parkinson’s disease patients.
We evaluated 50 patients with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease, age and gender paired to 47 healthy volunteers. We selected two homogeneous groups of 18 patients taking levodopa and 7 no levodopa patients. The functional magnetic resonance imaging verbal fluency task, with low and high cognitive demands, was performed at a 3T magnetic resonance imaging equipment. Data was analyzed with XBAM software for group maps and ANOVA comparison.
Patients without levodopa had more activation than the ones with levodopa in the medial frontal and in the left frontal and parieto-occipital areas. The striatal activation in patients taking levodopa had similar result of the activation detected in the healthy volunteer group. Parieto-occipital areas were less activated in the levodopa group than in the no levodopa one.
Parkinson’s disease patients without levodopa replacement, during a verbal fluency effort, had more diffuse and intense cerebral activation in left hemisphere, mainly in the frontal and parieto-occipital areas. The striatal activation in verbal fluency of patients with levodopa intake was more similar to the activation found in healthy volunteers. These initial evidences suggested a role of levodopa inhibiting activation in parieto-occipital compensating areas.