OBJECTIVE: Functional deficits seen in several neurodegenerative disorders have been linked with dysfunction in frontostriatal circuits and with associated shape alterations in striatal structures. The severity of visible white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) on magnetic resonance imaging has been found to correlate with poorer performance on measures of gait and balance. This study aimed to determine whether striatal volume and shape changes were correlated with gait dysfunction. METHODS: Magnetic resonance imaging scans and clinical gait/balance data (scores from the Short Physical Performance Battery [SPPB]) were sourced from 66 subjects in the previously published LADIS trial, performed in nondisabled individuals older than age 65 years with WMHs at study entry. Data were obtained at study entry and at 3-year follow-up. Caudate nuclei and putamina were manually traced using a previously published method and volumes calculated. The relationships between volume and physical performance on the SPPB were investigated with shape analysis using the spherical harmonic shape description toolkit. RESULTS: There was no correlation between the severity of WMHs and striatal volumes. Caudate nuclei volume correlated with performance on the SPPB at baseline but not at follow-up, with subsequent shape analysis showing left caudate changes occurred in areas corresponding to inputs of the dorsolateral prefrontal, premotor, and motor cortex. There was no correlation between putamen volumes and performance on the SPPB. CONCLUSION: Disruption in frontostriatal circuits may play a role in mediating poorer physical performance in individuals with WMHs. Striatal volume and shape changes may be suitable biomarkers for functional changes in this population.
American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 2015, Vol 23, Issue 1
Journal Article; Multicenter Study; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Caudate Nucleus; Female; Gait; Humans; Leukoencephalopathies; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Male; Postural Balance