Arianna Sala, Silvia Paola Caminiti, Leonardo Iaccarino, Luca Beretta, Sandro Iannaccone, Giuseppe Magnani, Alessandro Padovani, Luigi Ferini‐Strambi, Daniela Perani
Human Brain Mapping https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.24719
Publication year: 2019

Aberrations of large‐scale brain networks are found in the majority of neurodegenerative disorders. The brain connectivity alterations underlying dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) remain, however, still elusive, with contrasting results possibly due to the pathological and clinical heterogeneity characterizing this disorder. Here, we provide a molecular assessment of brain network alterations, based on cerebral metabolic measurements as proxies of synaptic activity and density, in a large cohort of DLB patients (N = 72). We applied a seed‐based interregional correlation analysis approach (p < .01, false discovery rate corrected) to evaluate large‐scale resting‐state networks’ integrity and their interactions. We found both local and long‐distance metabolic connectivity alterations, affecting the posterior cortical networks, that is, primary visual and the posterior default mode network, as well as the limbic and attention networks, suggesting a widespread derangement of the brain connectome. Notably, patients with the lowest visual and attention cognitive scores showed the most severe connectivity derangement in regions of the primary visual network. In addition, network‐level alterations were differentially associated with the core clinical manifestations, namely, hallucinations with more severe metabolic dysfunction of the attention and visual networks, and rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder with alterations of connectivity of attention and subcortical networks. These multiple network‐level vulnerabilities may modulate the core clinical and cognitive features of DLB and suggest that DLB should be considered as a complex multinetwork disorder.