Journal of Neurology

, Volume 264, Issue 4, pp 684–693 | Cite as

Does apolipoprotein A1 predict microstructural changes in subgenual cingulum in early Parkinson?

  • Farzaneh Rahmani
  • Mohammad Hadi Aarabi
Original Communication


Higher plasma cholesterol levels are associated with lower Parkinson’s disease (PD) risk. Apolipoprotein A-1 (ApoA-1) is a surface marker of brain HDL-like particles associated with the time of PD onset. Clinical correlates of serum Apolipoprotein A1 levels with structural brain connectivity in PD-related disorders remains unclear. Here, we applied a novel diffusion-weighted imaging approach [Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Connectometry] to explore the association between ApoA-1 and structural brain connectivity in PD. Participants involved in this research were recruited from Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI). Diffusion MRI connectometry was conducted using a multiple regression against apoA-1 for 36 patients with DTI measurements available in the baseline visit. Fiber results of the connectometry were then reconstructed for each patient, and diffusion parameters were extracted and regressed against apoA-1 levels. Connectometry results revealed the subgenual cingulum to be associated with ApoA-1, with different FDR yields. This result was further supported by significant negative correlation of Quantitative Anisotropic (QA) of left subgenual cingulum (Pearson’s coefficient = −0.398, p = 0.020) and Generalized Fractional Anisotropic (GFA) of right subgenual cingulum (Pearson’s coefficient −0.457, p = 0.007) with plasma apoA-1 levels, in a multiple regression model with age and sex. The subgenual cingulum encompasses fibers from the anterior cingulate cortex and anterior thalamus. These structures are involved in PD-associated psychosis and executive cognitive decline. We demonstrated for the first time that apoA-1, as a blood marker, can predict microstructural changes in white matter regions in PD patients with undisturbed cognition and mild motor disability.


Apolipoprotein A1 Subgenual cingulum Early Parkinson’s disease Connectometry Diffusion MRI 



This work was funded by Grants from the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the W Garfield Weston Foundation, and the Alzheimer’s Association, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. We thank Christian Beckmann and Simon Eickhoff for their advice on data analysis. Data used in this article were obtained from the Parkinsons Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) database ( For up-to-date information on the study, visit PPMI is sponsored and partially funded by the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research and funding partners, including AbbVie, Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, Biogen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Covance, GE Healthcare, Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Eli Lilly and Company, Lundbeck, Merck, Meso Scale Discovery (MSD), Pfizer, Piramal Imaging, Roche, Servier, and UCB (

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All procedures performed here, including human participants, were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

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

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NeuroImaging Network (NIN)Universal Scientific Education and Research Network (USERN)TehranIran
  2. 2.Students Scientific Research CenterTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  3. 3.Basir Eye Health Research CenterTehranIran

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