Cortical atrophy has been documented in both Parkinson's disease (PD) and healthy aging, but its relationship to changes in subcortical white matter is unknown. This was investigated by obtaining T1- and diffusion-weighted images from 76 PD and 70 controls at baseline and 18 and 36 months, from which cortical volumes and underlying subcortical white matter axial diffusivity (AD), radial diffusivity (RD), and fractional anisotropy (FA) were determined. Twelve of 69 cortical subregions had significant group differences, and for these, underlying subcortical white matter was explored. At baseline, higher cortical volumes were significantly correlated with lower underlying subcortical white matter AD, RD, and higher FA (ps ≤ 0.017) in PD. Longitudinally, higher rates of cortical atrophy in PD were associated with increased rates of change in AD RD, and FA values (ps ≤ 0.0013) in 2 subregions explored. The significant gray-white matter associations were not found in controls. Thus, unlike healthy aging, cortical atrophy and subcortical white matter changes may not be independent events in PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-108
Number of pages9
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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