An fMRI Study of the Differences in Brain Activity During Active Ankle Dorsiflexion and Plantarflexion

Department of Veteran Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development Brain Rehabilitation Research Center at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Brain Imaging and Behavior (Impact Factor: 4.6). 06/2010; 4(2):121-31. DOI: 10.1007/s11682-010-9091-2
Source: PubMed


Little is known regarding the differences in active cortical and subcortical systems during opposing movements of an agonist-antagonist muscle group. The objective of this study was to characterize the differences in cortical activation during active ankle dorsiflexion and plantarflexion using functional MRI (fMRI). Eight right-handed healthy adults performed auditorily cued right ankle dorsiflexions and plantarflexions during fMRI. Differences in activity patterns between dorsiflexion and plantarflexion during fMRI were assessed using between- and within-subject voxel-wise t-tests. Results indicated that ankle dorsiflexion recruited significantly more regions in left M1, the supplementary motor area (SMA) bilaterally, and right cerebellum. Both movements activated similar left hemisphere regions in the putamen and thalamus. Dorsiflexion activated additional areas in the right putamen. Results suggest that ankle dorsiflexion and plantarflexion may be controlled by both shared and independent neural circuitry. This has important implications for functional investigations of gait pathology and how rehabilitation may differentially affect each movement.

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    • "In investigating this assumption, the first challenge we encountered was the identification of speed specific brain regions. According to former studies which characterized brain activity during repeated dorsi- and plantarflexions, we expected activity in the lower leg and foot representation of the supplementary and primary motor cortex of the contralateral brain hemisphere [32], [51], [52]. Besides that a bilateral subcortical activity could have been expected in the putamen, thalamus and cerebellum [51], [52]. "
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    ABSTRACT: In athletics, motor performance is determined by different abilities such as technique, endurance, strength and speed. Based on animal studies, motor speed is thought to be encoded in the basal ganglia, sensorimotor cortex and the cerebellum. The question arises whether there is a unique structural feature in the human brain, which allows "power athletes" to perform a simple foot movement significantly faster than "endurance athletes". We acquired structural and functional brain imaging data from 32 track-and-field athletes. The study comprised of 16 "power athletes" requiring high speed foot movements (sprinters, jumpers, throwers) and 16 endurance athletes (distance runners) which in contrast do not require as high speed foot movements. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to identify speed specific regions of interest in the brain during fast and slow foot movements. Anatomical MRI scans were performed to assess structural grey matter volume differences between athletes groups (voxel based morphometry). We tested maximum movement velocity of plantarflexion (PF-Vmax) and acquired electromyographical activity of the lateral and medial gastrocnemius muscle. Behaviourally, a significant difference between the two groups of athletes was noted in PF-Vmax and fMRI indicates that fast plantarflexions are accompanied by increased activity in the cerebellar anterior lobe. The same region indicates increased grey matter volume for the power athletes compared to the endurance counterparts. Our results suggest that speed-specific neuro-functional and -structural differences exist between power and endurance athletes in the peripheral and central nervous system.
    PLoS ONE 05/2014; 9(5):e96871. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0096871 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "The results of our study are in good correspondence with observations that active periodic ankle movements reliably result in BOLD activations in the primary sensorimotor cortex of the paracentral lobule, the premotor cortex, the supplementary motor area, the cerebellum, the thalamus, the secondary somatosensory cortex, as well as the superior temporal gyrus (Ciccarelli et al., 2005; Dobkin et al., 2004; Francis et al., 2009; MacIntosh et al., 2004; Newton et al., 2008; Trinastic et al., 2010; Rocca & Filippi, 2010). In addition, these ankle-specific activations are also in good correspondance to a recently published study by Toyomura, Shibata, and Kuriki (2012), who investigated the neural correlates of the production of bilateral leg movements around the knee joint and found activations within the same regions. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Limited information processing capacity in the brain necessitates task prioritisation and subsequent adaptive behavioural strategies for the dual-task coordination of locomotion with severe concurrent cognitive loading. Commonly observed strategies include prioritisation of gait at the cost of reduced performance in the cognitive task. Alternatively alterations of gait parameters such as gait velocity have been reported presumably to free processing capacity for the benefit of performance in the cognitive task. The aim of this study was to describe the neuroanatomical correlates of adaptive behavioural strategies in cognitive-motor dual-tasking when the competition for information processing capacity is severe and may exceed individuals' capacity limitations. Methods: During an fMRI experiment, 12 young adults performed slow continuous, auditorily paced bilateral anti-phase ankle dorsi-plantarflexion movements as an element of normal gait at .5 Hz in single and dual task modes. The secondary task involved a visual, alphabetic N-back task with presentation rate jittered around .7 Hz. The N-back task, which randomly occurred in 0-back or 2-back form, was modified into a silent counting task to avoid confounding motor responses at the cost of slightly increasing the task's general coordinative complexity. Participants' ankle movements were recorded using an optoelectronic motion capture system to derive kinematic parameters representing the stability of the movement timing and synchronization. Participants were instructed to perform both tasks as accurately as possible. Results: Increased processing complexity in the dual-task 2-back condition led to significant changes in movement parameters such as the average inter-response interval, the coefficient of variation of absolute asynchrony and the standard deviation of peak angular velocity. A regions-of-interest analysis indicated correlations between these parameters and local activations within the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) such that lower IFG activations coincided with performance decrements. Conclusions: Dual-task interference effects show that the production of periodically timed ankle movements, taken as modelling elements of the normal gait cycle, draws on higher-level cognitive resources involved in working memory. The interference effect predominantly concerns the timing accuracy of the ankle movements. Reduced activations within regions of the left IFG, and in some respect also within the superior parietal lobule, were identified as one factor affecting the timing of periodic ankle movements resulting in involuntary 'hastening' during severe dual-task working memory load. This 'hastening' phenomenon may be an expression of re-automated locomotor control when higher-order cognitive processing capacity can no longer be allocated to the movements due to the demands of the cognitive task. The results of our study also propose the left IFG as a target region to improve performance during dual-task walking by techniques for non-invasive brain stimulation.
    Neuropsychologia 07/2013; 51(11). DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2013.07.009 · 3.30 Impact Factor
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