Brain atrophy and strategic lesion location increases risk of parkinsonism in cerebral small vessel disease

Mayra I. Bergkamp (Corresponding Author), Anil M. Tuladhar, Helena M. van der Holst, Esther M.C. van Leijsen, Mohsen Ghafoorian, Ingeborg W.M. van Uden, Ewoud J. van Dijk, David G. Norris, Bram Platel, Rianne A.J. Esselink, Frank Erik de Leeuw*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Incident parkinsonism in patients with comparable cerebral small vessel disease (SVD) burden is not fully explained by presence of SVD alone. We therefore investigated if severity of SVD, SVD location, incidence of SVD and/or brain atrophy plays a role in this distinct development of parkinsonism. Methods: Participants were from the RUN DMC study, a prospective cohort of 503 individuals with SVD. Parkinsonism was diagnosed according to the UKPDS brain bank criteria. Fine and Gray method was used to assess the association between SVD and incident parkinsonism. Differences in white matter hyperintensities (WMH) progression and brain atrophy were calculated with a linear mixed effect analysis. Results: After a median follow-up of 8.6 years, 32 of 501 participants developed parkinsonism (6.4%). The highest WMH load was found in the frontal lobe for both groups. Presence of more than one lacune at baseline was higher in the group who developed parkinsonism, especially in the frontal lobe (22% versus 3%, p < 0.001) and basal ganglia (12.5% versus 1%, p-value <0.001). The annual rate of total brain atrophy was significantly higher for those who developed parkinsonism compared to those who did not (8.7 ml [95%CI 7.1–10.3] and 4.9 ml [95%CI 4.5–5.3], respectively). While WMH progression was not different, incidence of lacunes and microbleeds was higher in the group with parkinsonism. Conclusion: The risk of parkinsonism in patients with SVD is especially increased when WMH and lacunes are present in the frontal lobe. A higher brain atrophy rate might further increase this risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-100
Number of pages7
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain atrophy
  • Cerebral small vessel disease
  • Parkinsonism


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