White matter microstructural changes are related to cognitive dysfunction in essential tremor

Julián Benito-León*, Virginia Mato-Abad, Elan D. Louis, Juan Antonio Hernández-Tamames, Juan Álvarez-Linera, Félix Bermejo-Pareja, Ángela Domingo-Santos, Luis Collado, Juan Pablo Romero

*Corresponding author for this work

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Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies have detected white matter microstructural changes in essential tremor (ET). However, it is still unclear whether these changes are related to cognitive deficits, which have been described in ET patients. DTI-derived fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD), and radial diffusivity measures were compared between 23 ET patients and 23 age-, gender-, and education-matched healthy individuals, using whole-brain tract-based spatial statistics. Correlations of white matter changes with scores obtained from a detailed neuropsychological assessment were subsequently examined. ET patients demonstrated increases in MD in the bilateral posterior corona radiata, bilateral superior longitudinal fasciculus, bilateral fornix (cres)/stria terminalis, genu and splenium of the corpus callosum, bilateral anterior and posterior limbs of internal capsule, bilateral retrolenticular region part of internal capsule, and left posterior thalamic radiation. Except for the genu of the corpus callosum, an increase in AD values was also found in these same tracts. Furthermore, increased MD and AD values in different white matter areas was negatively correlated with performance on language and verbal memory and positively with visuospatial ability. These correlations suggest that white matter changes might be involved in the pathogenesis of cognitive deficits in ET.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2978
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by FEDER funds. Dr. Benito-León is supported by the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA (NINDS #R01 NS39422), the Commission of the European Union (grant ICT-2011-287739, NeuroTREMOR), the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (grant RTC-2015-3967-1, NetMD-platform for the tracking of movement disorder), and the Spanish Health Research Agency (grant FIS PI12/01602 and grant FIS PI16/00451). Dr. Louis has received research support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NINDS #R01 NS042859 (principal investigator), NINDS #R01 NS39422 (principal investigator), NINDS #R01 NS086736 (principal investigator), NINDS #R01 NS073872 (principal investigator), NINDS #R01 NS085136 (principal investigator), NINDS #R21 NS077094 (co-Investigator), and NINDS #R01 NS36630 (co-Investigator). Dr. Romero is supported by the Commission of the European Union (grant ICT-2011-287739, NeuroTREMOR). We acknowledge the neuropsychologist Verónica Puertas, for her assistance with the project.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s).


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