Neural substrates underlying progressive micrographia in Parkinson's disease

Shigenori Kanno, Mayumi Shinohara, Kasumi Kanno, Yukihiro Gomi, Makoto Uchiyama, Yoshiyuki Nishio, Toru Baba, Yoshiyuki Hosokai, Atsushi Takeda, Hiroshi Fukuda, Etsuro Mori, Kyoko Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: The neural substrates associated with the development of micrographia remain unknown. We aimed to elucidate the neural substrates underlying micrographia in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. Methods: Forty PD patients and 20 healthy controls underwent handwriting tests that involved free writing and copying. We measured the size of each letter and the resting cerebral glucose metabolic rate of the PD patients and another group of age- and sex-matched 14 healthy controls (HCs), who had not participated in the writing tests, using resting-state 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography. Results: In the PD patients, the prevalence of consistent micrographia (CM) associated with free writing was 2.5% for both tasks. Alternatively, the prevalence of progressive micrographia (PM) was 15% for free writing and 17.5% for copying. In the PD patients, there was no significant difference in the letter sizes between these tasks, whereas the variability of the letter sizes for copying was significantly different from that for free writing. The means and decrements in letter sizes in either task were not significantly correlated with the severity of brady/hypokinesia in the PD patients. For free writing, the PD patients with PM showed glucose hypometabolism in the anterior part of the right middle cingulate cortex, including the rostral cingulate motor area, compared with those without PM. For copying, the PD patients with PM showed glucose hypometabolism in the right superior occipital gyrus, including V3A, compared with those without PM. Conclusions: These findings suggest that PM in free writing in PD patients is caused by the difficulty of monitoring whether the actual handwriting movements are desirable for maintaining letter size during self-paced handwriting. By contrast, PM in copying in PD patients is evoked by a lack of visual information about the personal handwriting and hand motions that are used as cues for maintaining letter sizes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01669
JournalBrain and Behavior
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Aug 1


  • Parkinson's disease
  • anterior cingulate cortex
  • micrographia
  • positron emission tomography
  • supplementary motor area
  • visual cortex


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