Sensorimotor integration in focal task-specific hand dystonia: A magnetoencephalographic assessment

F Tecchio, JM Melgari, F Zappasodi, Camillo Porcaro, D Milazzo, E Cassetta, PM Rossini

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23 Citations (Scopus)


To obtain a direct sensorimotor integration assessment in primary hand cortical areas (M1) of patients suffering from focal task-specific hand dystonia, magnetoencephalographic (MEG) and opponens pollicis electromyographic (EMG) activities were acquired during a motor task expressly chosen not to induce dystonic movements in our patients, to disentangle abnormalities indicating a possible substrate on which dystonia develops. A simple isometric contraction was performed either alone or in combination with median nerve stimulation, i.e. when a non-physiological sensory inflow was overlapping with the physiological feedback. As control condition, median nerve stimulation was also performed at rest. The task was performed bilaterally both in eight patients and in 16 healthy volunteers. In comparison with results in controls we found that in dystonic patients: i) MEG-EMG coherence was higher; ii) it reduced much less during galvanic stimulation in the hemisphere contralateral to the dystonic arm, simultaneously with iii) stronger inhibition of the sensory areas responsiveness due to movement; iv) the cortical component including contributions from sensory inhibitory and motor structures was reduced and v) much more inhibited during movement. It is documented that a simultaneous cortico-muscular coherence increase occurs in presence of a reduced M1 responsiveness to the inflow from the sensory regions. This could indicate an unbalance of the fronto-parietal functional impact on M1, with a weakening of the parietal components. Concurrently, signs of a less differentiated sensory hand representation--possibly due to impaired inhibitory mechanisms efficiency--and signs of a reduced repertoire of voluntary motor control strategies were found.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-571
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2008


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