Relating Response Inhibition, Brain Connectivity, and Freezing of Gait in People with Parkinson's Disease

Daniel S. Peterson, Katrijn Smulders, Martina Mancini, John G. Nutt, Fay B. Horak, Brett W. Fling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Freezing of gait (FoG) in Parkinson's disease (PD) has been associated with response inhibition. However, the relationship between response inhibition, neural dysfunction, and PD remains unclear. We assessed response inhibition and microstructural integrity of brain regions involved in response inhibition [right hemisphere inferior frontal cortex (IFC), bilateral pre-supplementary motor areas (preSMA), and subthalamic nuclei (STN)] in PD subjects with and without FoG and elderly controls. Method: Twenty-one people with PD and FoG (PD-FoG), 18 without FoG (PD-noFoG), and 19 age-matched controls (HC) completed a Stop-Signal Task (SST) and MRI scan. Probabilistic fiber tractography assessed structural integrity (fractional anisotropy, FA) among IFC, preSMA, and STN regions. Results: Stop-signal performance did not differ between PD and HC, nor between PD-FoG and PD-noFoG. Differences in white matter integrity were observed across groups (.001 p 064), but were restricted to PD versus HC groups; no differences in FA were observed between PD-FoG and PD-noFoG (p 096). Interestingly, worse FoG was associated with higher (better) mean FA in the r-preSMA, (=.547, p =.015). Microstructural integrity of the r-IFC, r-preSMA, and r-STN tracts correlated with stop-signal performance in HC (p 019), but not people with PD. Conclusion: These results do not support inefficient response inhibition in PD-FoG. Those with PD exhibited white matter loss in the response inhibition network, but this was not associated with FoG, nor with response inhibition deficits, suggesting FoG-specific neural changes may occur outside the response inhibition network. As shown previously, white matter loss was associated with response inhibition in elderly controls, suggesting PD may disturb this relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)733-743
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Freezing of gait
  • Inhibition
  • Neuroimaging
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Stop-signal task

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Relating Response Inhibition, Brain Connectivity, and Freezing of Gait in People with Parkinson's Disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this