COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Dopamine influences primary motor cortex plasticity and dorsal premotor-to-motor connectivity in Parkinson's disease

A Suppa, E Iezzi, A Conte, D Belvisi, L Marsili, N Modugno, G Fabbrini, A Berardelli
Cerebral Cortex 2010, 20 (9): 2224-33
20051362
We investigated abnormal premotor to motor (PMd-to-M1) connectivity in Parkinson's disease (PD) with repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). We studied 28 patients off and on dopaminergic therapy and 28 healthy subjects. We delivered 5 Hz rTMS over M1 before and after conditioning PMd with 5 Hz rTMS. In healthy subjects, motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) elicited by M1-rTMS were facilitated and PMd-rTMS left MEPs unchanged. In patients, before PMd-rTMS, M1-rTMS induced no MEP facilitation, whereas after PMd-rTMS, it significantly facilitated MEPs only when patients were on therapy. In the second experiment, we delivered M1-rTMS under 3 different attention-demanding tasks: eyes closed, attention directed to the stimulated hand, and attention directed to the nonstimulated hand. In healthy subjects, a more pronounced MEP facilitation was present when subjects directed attention to the stimulated hand. In patients, the MEP facilitation was present when attention was directed to the stimulated hand only when patients were on therapy. Finally, we delivered M1-rTMS in patients on therapy while they were looking at the stimulated hand, before and after 1 Hz PMd-rTMS. PMd-rTMS reduced the attention-induced MEP facilitation. We conclude that in addition to abnormal M1 plasticity, the reduced MEP facilitation in PD also reflects altered PMd-to-M1 connectivity.

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