Flexible brain dynamics underpins complex behaviours as observed in Parkinson’s disease

Pierpaolo Sorrentino, Rosaria Rucco, Fabio Baselice, Rosa De Micco, Alessandro Tessitore, Arjan Hillebrand, Laura Mandolesi, Michael Breakspear, Leonardo L. Gollo, Giuseppe Sorrentino

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Rapid reconfigurations of brain activity support efficient neuronal communication and flexible behaviour. Suboptimal brain dynamics is associated to impaired adaptability, possibly leading to functional deficiencies. We hypothesize that impaired flexibility in brain activity can lead to motor and cognitive symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). To test this hypothesis, we studied the ‘functional repertoire’—the number of distinct configurations of neural activity—using source-reconstructed magnetoencephalography in PD patients and controls. We found stereotyped brain dynamics and reduced flexibility in PD. The intensity of this reduction was proportional to symptoms severity, which can be explained by beta-band hyper-synchronization. Moreover, the basal ganglia were prominently involved in the abnormal patterns of brain activity. Our findings support the hypotheses that: symptoms in PD relate to impaired brain flexibility, this impairment preferentially involves the basal ganglia, and beta-band hypersynchronization is associated with reduced brain flexibility. These findings highlight the importance of extensive functional repertoires for correct behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4051
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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