AUTHORS: Caminiti SP, Boccalini C, Nicastro N, Garibotto V, Perani D

Neurobiology of Aging, 126: 14-24, February 2023


We investigated how sex modulates metabolic connectivity alterations in probable dementia with Lewy bodies (pDLB). We included 131 pDLB patients (males/females: 58/73) and similarly aged healthy controls (HC) (male/female: 59/75) with available (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) scans. We assessed (1) sex differences in the whole-brain connectivity, identifying pathological hubs, (2) connectivity alterations in functional pathways of the neurotransmitter systems, (3) Resting State Networks (RSNs) integrity. Both pDLBM (males) and pDLBF (females) shared dysfunctional hubs in the insula, Rolandic operculum, and inferior parietal lobule, but the pDLBM group showed more severe and diffuse whole-brain connectivity alterations. Neurotransmitters connectivity analysis revealed common alterations in dopaminergic and noradrenergic pathways. Sex differences emerged particularly in the Ch4-perisylvian division, with pDLBM showing more severe alterations than pDLBF. The RSNs analysis showed no sex differences, with decreased connectivity strength in the primary visual, posterior default mode, and attention networks in both groups. Extensive connectivity changes characterize both males and females in the dementia stage, with a major vulnerability of cholinergic neurotransmitter systems in males, possibly contributing to the observed different clinical phenotypes.

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