J Clin Neurol.  2022 Sep;18(5):562-570. 10.3988/jcn.2022.18.5.562.

Association of Nucleus Basalis of Meynert Functional Connectivity and Cognition in Idiopathic Rapid-Eye-Movement Sleep Behavior Disorder

  • 1Department of Neurology, Kyung Hee University Hospital at Gangdong, Kyung Hee University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Neurology, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Department of Neurology, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea
  • 5Department of Neurology, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 6Department of Neurology, CHA University, CHA Bundang Medical Center, Seongnam, Korea
  • 7Department of Neurology, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea
  • 8Department of Neurology, Kangnam Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 9Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center, and Department of Psychiatry, Hennepin County Medical Center and University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN, USA


Background and Purpose
Cognitive impairments are common in isolated rapid-eye-movement sleep behavior disorder (iRBD), in which the cholinergic system may play an important role. This study aimed to characterize the cortical cholinergic activity using resting-state functional connectivity (FC) of the nucleus basalis of Meynert (NBM) according to the cognitive status of iRBD patients.
In this cross-sectional study, 33 patients with polysomnography-confirmed iRBD and 20 controls underwent neuropsychological evaluations and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Thirteen of the iRBD patients had mild cognitive impairment (iRBDMCI), and the others were age-matched patients with normal cognition (iRBD-NC). The seed-to-voxel NBM–cortical FC was compared among the patients with iRBD-MCI, patients with iRBD-NC, and controls. Correlations between average values of significant clusters and cognitive function scores were calculated in the patients with iRBD.
There were group differences in the FC of the NBM with the left lateral occipital cortex and lingual gyrus (adjusted for age, sex, and education level). The strength of FC was lower in the iRBD-MCI group than in the iRBD-NC and control groups (each post-hoc p<0.001). The average NBM–lateral occipital cortex FC was positively correlated with the memory-domain score in iRBD patients.
The results obtained in this study support that cortical cholinergic activity is impaired in iRBD patients with MCI. FC between NBM and posterior regions may play a central role in the cognitive function of these patients.


REM sleep behavior disorder; REM sleep behavior disorder; functional brain imaging; functional brain imaging; nucleus basalis of Meynert; nucleus basalis of Meynert; cognitive function; cognitive function; mild cognitive impairment; mild cognitive impairment
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