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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Available from: Jonathan Trinastic
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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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    • "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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