Brain Imaging and Behavior

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 1202–1219 | Cite as

Effects of levodopa therapy on voxel-based degree centrality in Parkinson’s disease

  • Miao Zhong
  • Wanqun Yang
  • Biao HuangEmail author
  • Wenjie Jiang
  • Xiong Zhang
  • Xiaojin Liu
  • Lijuan Wang
  • Junjing Wang
  • Ling Zhao
  • Yuhu Zhang
  • Yingjun Liu
  • Jiabao Lin
  • Ruiwang HuangEmail author
Original Research


Levodopa therapy is widely recognized as an effective treatment for PD patients, however, it is rare of the study looking at effects of levodopa therapy on the whole-brain network. This study was to evaluate the effects of levodopa on whole-brain degree centrality (DC) and seed-based functional connectivity (FC) in PD patients. We recruited 26 PD patients and acquired their resting-state fMRI data before (‘OFF’ state) and after (‘ON’ state) taking a dose of 400 mg levodopa. Through constructing the voxel-based brain functional network, we calculated distant and local DC and seed-based FC. We found that compared to the healthy controls, the PD patients at ‘OFF’ state showed significantly decreased distant DC in several occipital regions and left postcentral gyrus, but increased distant DC in the right precentral gyrus, supplementary motor area, and several frontal regions. Meanwhile, we detected decreased local DC in the left cuneus and bilateral insula but increased local DC in several temporal regions in the PD patients at ‘OFF’ state compared to the controls. Using paired-sample t-tests, we found that levodopa effectively normalized the distant DC abnormalities in the PD patients particularly in the occipital regions and postcentral gyrus. Additionally, compared to ‘OFF’ state, the PD patients at ‘ON’ state showed decreased FC of the left median cingulate gyrus to brain regions in default mode network. The decreased FC of the left median cingulate gyrus to right temporal pole was associated with improved UPDRS-III score. This study provided new evidence for understanding the neural effects of levodopa therapy on the whole-brain network in PD patients.


Resting-state fMRI Network centrality Distant DC Local DC Functional connectivity 



amplitude of low-frequency oscillations


angular gyrus




degree centrality


default mode network


Full-Width at Half Maximum


functional connectivity


Hoehn and Yahr stage


independent component analysis




opercular part of inferior frontal gyrus


triangular part of inferior frontal gyrus


inferior occipital gyrus


lingual gyrus


Mini-Mental State Examination


middle frontal gyrus


middle temporal gyrus


median cingulate gyrus


middle occipital gyrus


mild cognitive impairment


orbital part of inferior frontal gyrus


premotor cortex


postcentral gyrus


precentral gyrus


parahippocampal gyrus




regional homogeneity


region of interest


supplementary motor area


superior temporal gyrus


medial superior frontal gyrus


superior occipital gyrus


temporal pole of middle temporal gyrus




Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale-motor


‘OFF’ state

before levodopa therapy

‘ON’ state

after levodopa therapy


degree centrality for a given voxel i


connection or edge weight from voxel i to voxel j

\( \overline{DC} \)

mean degree across all voxels in the whole brain degree centrality map


standard deviation of degree centrality


z-score of degree centrality


smoothed z-score of degree centrality


z-score of functional connectivity


difference in degree centrality between ‘ON’ and ‘OFF’ state


difference in functional connectivity between ‘ON’ and ‘OFF’ state


difference in UPDRS-III score between ‘ON’ and ‘OFF’ state


difference in MMSE score between ‘ON’ and ‘OFF’ state



The authors are grateful to the two anonymous reviewers for constructive and insightful comments on a previous version of this article.


This work was supported by the funding from the Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant numbers: 81271548, 81271560, 81371535, 81428013, and 81471654) and Planned Science and Technology Project of Guangzhou, China (Grant numbers: 20160402007).

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Conflict of interest

All of the authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

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Fig. S1 (PNG 5457 kb)
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Fig. S2 (PNG 5532 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Miao Zhong
    • 1
  • Wanqun Yang
    • 2
  • Biao Huang
    • 2
    Email author
  • Wenjie Jiang
    • 1
  • Xiong Zhang
    • 3
  • Xiaojin Liu
    • 1
  • Lijuan Wang
    • 3
  • Junjing Wang
    • 1
    • 5
  • Ling Zhao
    • 1
  • Yuhu Zhang
    • 3
  • Yingjun Liu
    • 4
  • Jiabao Lin
    • 1
  • Ruiwang Huang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Psychology, Institute of Brain Science and Rehabilitation, Key Laboratory of Mental Health and Cognitive Science of Guangdong ProvinceSouth China Normal UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Radiology, Guangdong Academy of Medical SciencesGuangdong General HospitalGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of Neurology, Guangdong Academy of Medical SciencesGuangdong General HospitalGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.School of Biomedical EngineeringSouthern Medical UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  5. 5.Department of Applied PsychologyGuangdong University of Foreign StudiesGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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