Background Clarifying the neuropathology of depression as a symptom of Parkinson’s disease (PD) has been the goal of recent neuroimaging studies; however, results have been conflicting and lack replication. The purpose of the current study was to replicate recent methods that have used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to compare individuals with PD with and without depression and to extend previous findings to allow for a better understanding of the results.
Methods Thirty-seven participants with de novo PD were retrieved from the Parkinson’s Progression Marker’s Initiative (PPMI) and were separated into a depressed PD group (dPD) or a non-depressed PD group (ndPD). Groups were determined based on scores on the Geriatric Depression Scale Short Form (GDS-15). Initially, a replicated cut off score of ≥ 5 for dPD and <5 for ndPD was applied. To better understand the results, we secondarily applied a more extreme group analysis with ≥ 9 for dPD and 0 for ndPD. White matter integrity between groups was compared between groups using tract-based spatial statistics. Results & Conclusion The current study did not reveal significant differences in white matter microstructure between dPD and ndPD groups at the whole brain level or in specific regions of interest. The extreme group results were consistent. These findings did not replicate previous work that found reduced white matter integrity in limbic prefrontal regions in dPD relative to ndPD. The current study highlights the need for more replications of neuroimaging research.