Increased sensorimotor network activity in DYT1 dystonia: a functional imaging study.
ABSTRACT Neurophysiological studies have provided evidence of primary motor cortex hyperexcitability in primary dystonia, but several functional imaging studies suggest otherwise. To address this issue, we measured sensorimotor activation at both the regional and network levels in carriers of the DYT1 dystonia mutation and in control subjects. We used (15)Oxygen-labelled water and positron emission tomography to scan nine manifesting DYT1 carriers, 10 non-manifesting DYT1 carriers and 12 age-matched controls while they performed a kinematically controlled motor task; they were also scanned in a non-motor audio-visual control condition. Within- and between-group contrasts were analysed with statistical parametric mapping. For network analysis, we first identified a normal motor-related activation pattern in a set of 39 motor and audio-visual scans acquired in an independent cohort of 18 healthy volunteer subjects. The expression of this pattern was prospectively quantified in the motor and control scans acquired in each of the gene carriers and controls. Network values for the three groups were compared with ANOVA and post hoc contrasts. Voxel-wise comparison of DYT1 carriers and controls revealed abnormally increased motor activation responses in the former group (P < 0.05, corrected; statistical parametric mapping), localized to the sensorimotor cortex, dorsal premotor cortex, supplementary motor area and the inferior parietal cortex. Network analysis of the normative derivation cohort revealed a significant normal motor-related activation pattern topography (P < 0.0001) characterized by covarying neural activity in the sensorimotor cortex, dorsal premotor cortex, supplementary motor area and cerebellum. In the study cohort, normal motor-related activation pattern expression measured during movement was abnormally elevated in the manifesting gene carriers (P < 0.001) but not in their non-manifesting counterparts. In contrast, in the non-motor control condition, abnormal increases in network activity were present in both groups of gene carriers (P < 0.001). In this condition, normal motor-related activation pattern expression in non-manifesting carriers was greater than in controls, but lower than in affected carriers. In the latter group, measures of normal motor-related activation pattern expression in the audio-visual condition correlated with independent dystonia clinical ratings (r = 0.70, P = 0.04). These findings confirm that overexcitability of the sensorimotor system is a robust feature of dystonia. The presence of elevated normal motor-related activation pattern expression in the non-motor condition suggests that abnormal integration of audio-visual input with sensorimotor network activity is an important trait feature of this disorder. Lastly, quantification of normal motor-related activation pattern expression in individual cases may have utility as an objective descriptor of therapeutic response in trials of new treatments for dystonia and related disorders.
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ABSTRACT: There has been increasing interest in the interaction of the basal ganglia with the cerebellum and the brainstem in motor control and movement disorders. In addition, it has been suggested that these subcortical connections with the basal ganglia may help to coordinate a network of regions involved in mediating posture and stabilization. While studies in animal models support a role for this circuitry in the pathophysiology of the movement disorder dystonia, thus far, there is only indirect evidence for this in humans with dystonia. In the current study we investigated probabilistic diffusion tractography in DYT1-negative patients with cervical dystonia and matched healthy control subjects, with the goal of showing that patients exhibit altered microstructure in the connectivity between the pallidum and brainstem. The brainstem regions investigated included nuclei that are known to exhibit strong connections with the cerebellum. We observed large clusters of tractography differences in patients relative to healthy controls, between the pallidum and the brainstem. Tractography was decreased in the left hemisphere and increased in the right hemisphere in patients, suggesting a potential basis for the left/right white matter asymmetry we previously observed in focal dystonia patients. These findings support the hypothesis that connections between the basal ganglia and brainstem play a role in the pathophysiology of dystonia.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(2):e31654. · 4.09 Impact Factor