Task-free functional MRI in cervical dystonia reveals multi-network changes that partially normalize with botulinum toxin.


Task-free functional MRI in cervical dystonia reveals multi-network changes that partially normalize with botulinum toxin.

PLoS One. 2013 May 1;8(5):e62877. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062877.

Cervical dystonia is characterized by involuntary, abnormal movements and postures of the head and neck. Current views on its pathophysiology, such as faulty sensorimotor integration and impaired motor planning, are largely based on studies of focal hand dystonia. Using resting state fMRI, we explored whether cervical dystonia patients have altered functional brain connectivity compared to healthy controls, by investigating 10 resting state networks. Scans were repeated immediately before and some weeks after botulinum toxin injections to see whether connectivity abnormalities were restored. We here show that cervical dystonia patients have reduced connectivity in selected regions of the prefrontal cortex, premotor cortex and superior parietal lobule within a distributed network that comprises the premotor cortex, supplementary motor area, primary sensorimotor cortex, and secondary somatosensory cortex (sensorimotor network). With regard to a network originating from the occipital cortex (primary visual network), selected regions in the prefrontal and premotor cortex, superior parietal lobule, and middle temporal gyrus areas have reduced connectivity. In selected regions of the prefrontal, premotor, primary motor and early visual cortex increased connectivity was found within a network that comprises the prefrontal cortex including the anterior cingulate cortex and parietal cortex (executive control network). Botulinum toxin treatment resulted in a partial restoration of connectivity abnormalities in the sensorimotor and primary visual network. These findings demonstrate the involvement of multiple neural networks in cervical dystonia. The reduced connectivity within the sensorimotor and primary visual networks may provide the neural substrate to expect defective motor planning and disturbed spatial cognition. Increased connectivity within the executive control network suggests excessive attentional control and while this may be a primary trait, perhaps contributing to abnormal motor control, this may alternatively serve a compensatory function in order to reduce the consequences of the motor planning defect inflicted by the other network abnormalities.

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