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Functional changes of the cortical motor system in hereditary spastic paraparesis

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Koritnik B, Azam S, Knific J, Zidar J. Functional changes of the cortical motor system in hereditary spastic paraparesis.

Acta Neurol Scand 2009: 120: 182–190.

© 2008 The Authors Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Munksgaard. Background – 

Hereditary spastic paraparesis (HSP) is a heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by progressive bilateral lower limb spasticity. Functional imaging studies in patients with corticospinal tract involvement have shown reorganization of motor circuitry. Our study investigates functional changes in sensorimotor brain areas in patients with HSP. Methods – 

Twelve subjects with HSP and 12 healthy subjects were studied. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to measure brain activation during right-hand finger tapping. Image analysis was performed using general linear model and regions of interest (ROI)-based approach. Weighted laterality indices (wLI) and anterior/posterior indicies (wAI and wPI) were calculated for predefined ROIs. Results and discussion – 

Comparing patients and controls at the same finger-tapping rate (1.8 Hz), there was increased fMRI activation in patients’ bilateral posterior parietal cortex and left primary sensorimotor cortex. No differences were found when comparing patients and controls at 80% of their individual maximum tapping rates. wLI of the primary sensorimotor cortex was significantly lower in patients. Subjects with HSP also showed a relative increase in the activation of the posterior parietal and premotor areas compared with that of the primary sensorimotor cortex. Our findings demonstrate an altered pattern of cortical activation in subjects with HSP during motor task. The increased activation probably reflects reorganization of the cortical motor system.
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Keywords: cerebellum; functional imaging; hereditary spastic paraparesis; motor cortex; voluntary movements

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Clinical Neurophysiology, Division of Neurology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia 2: MRC Centre for Neurodegeneration Research, King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK 3: Institute of Radiology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Publication date: 2009-09-01

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