Apraxia is a deficit in central motor planning impairing praxis functions such as gesture production or tool use that affects a substantial number of patients with advanced Parkinson's disease. We investigated the functional connectivity of the praxis network in patients in early stages of Parkinson's disease having an increased risk for apraxia and evaluated the influence of dopaminergic therapy on praxis abilities and related networks. 13 patients with mild to moderate Parkinson's disease (ON and OFF dopaminergic therapy) and 13 healthy controls completed a praxis sensitive functional MRI task and apraxia assessments. Functional connectivity analyses included a graph theoretical approach analyzing the global efficiency within the praxis network followed by a seed-to-voxel functional connectivity analysis. Patients in the OFF but not in the ON state showed significantly lower praxis scores than controls. Patients in both states displayed higher global efficiency within the praxis network than controls revealing the bilateral supramarginal gyri as hubs. Seed-to-voxel functional connectivity analyses showed aberrations of right-hemispheric praxis areas in the OFF but not in the ON state. Patients in the ON state exhibited a significantly higher functional connectivity between the supramarginal gyrus and the primary motor cortex, basal ganglia, and frontal areas than in the OFF state. Dopaminergic therapy seems to normalize praxis abilities and related praxis networks in early stages of Parkinson's disease potentially by facilitating the propagation of long-term representations of object-related actions to motor execution areas.
- Apraxias/diagnostic imaging
- Cerebral Cortex/diagnostic imaging
- Middle Aged
- Nerve Net/diagnostic imaging
- Parkinson Disease/complications