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1.  Impaired small fiber conduction in patients with Fabry disease: a neurophysiological case–control study 
BMC Neurology  2013;13:47.
Fabry disease is an inborn lysosomal storage disorder which is associated with small fiber neuropathy. We set out to investigate small fiber conduction in Fabry patients using pain-related evoked potentials (PREP).
In this case–control study we prospectively studied 76 consecutive Fabry patients for electrical small fiber conduction in correlation with small fiber function and morphology. Data were compared with healthy controls using non-parametric statistical tests. All patients underwent neurological examination and were investigated with pain and depression questionnaires. Small fiber function (quantitative sensory testing, QST), morphology (skin punch biopsy), and electrical conduction (PREP) were assessed and correlated. Patients were stratified for gender and disease severity as reflected by renal function.
All Fabry patients (31 men, 45 women) had small fiber neuropathy. Men with Fabry disease showed impaired cold (p < 0.01) and warm perception (p < 0.05), while women did not differ from controls. Intraepidermal nerve fiber density (IENFD) was reduced at the lower leg (p < 0.001) and the back (p < 0.05) mainly of men with impaired renal function. When investigating A-delta fiber conduction with PREP, men but not women with Fabry disease had lower amplitudes upon stimulation at face (p < 0.01), hands (p < 0.05), and feet (p < 0.01) compared to controls. PREP amplitudes further decreased with advance in disease severity. PREP amplitudes and warm (p < 0.05) and cold detection thresholds (p < 0.01) at the feet correlated positively in male patients.
Small fiber conduction is impaired in men with Fabry disease and worsens with advanced disease severity. PREP are well-suited to measure A-delta fiber conduction.
PMCID: PMC3672069  PMID: 23705943
Fabry disease; Pain-related evoked potentials; Small fiber neuropathy; A-delta fibers
2.  Excitability decreasing central motor plasticity is retained in multiple sclerosis patients 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:92.
Compensation of brain injury in multiple sclerosis (MS) may in part work through mechanisms involving neuronal plasticity on local and interregional scales. Mechanisms limiting excessive neuronal activity may have special significance for retention and (re-)acquisition of lost motor skills in brain injury. However, previous neurophysiological studies of plasticity in MS have investigated only excitability enhancing plasticity and results from neuroimaging are ambiguous. Thus, the aim of this study was to probe long-term depression-like central motor plasticity utilizing continuous theta-burst stimulation (cTBS), a non-invasive brain stimulation protocol. Because cTBS also may trigger behavioral effects through local interference with neuronal circuits, this approach also permitted investigating the functional role of the primary motor cortex (M1) in force control in patients with MS.
We used cTBS and force recordings to examine long-term depression-like central motor plasticity and behavioral consequences of a M1 lesion in 14 patients with stable mild-to-moderate MS (median EDSS 1.5, range 0 to 3.5) and 14 age-matched healthy controls. cTBS consisted of bursts (50 Hz) of three subthreshold biphasic magnetic stimuli repeated at 5 Hz for 40 s over the hand area of the left M1. Corticospinal excitability was probed via motor-evoked potentials (MEP) in the abductor pollicis brevis muscle over M1 before and after cTBS. Force production performance was assessed in an isometric right thumb abduction task by recording the number of hits into a predefined force window.
cTBS reduced MEP amplitudes in the contralateral abductor pollicis brevis muscle to a comparable extent in control subjects (69 ± 22% of baseline amplitude, p < 0.001) and in MS patients (69 ± 18%, p < 0.001). In contrast, post-cTBS force production performance was only impaired in controls (2.2 ± 2.8, p = 0.011), but not in MS patients (2.0 ± 4.4, p = 0.108). The decline in force production performance following cTBS correlated with corticomuscular latencies (CML) in MS patients, but did not correlate with MEP amplitude reduction in patients or controls.
Long-term depression-like plasticity remains largely intact in mild-to-moderate MS. Increasing brain injury may render the neuronal networks less responsive toward lesion-induction by cTBS.
PMCID: PMC3488470  PMID: 22974055
Multiple sclerosis; LTD; Motor plasticity; TMS; Motor cortex
3.  Ventral Premotor Cortex May Be Required for Dynamic Changes in the Feeling of Limb Ownership: A Lesion Study 
The feeling of “body ownership” may be experimentally investigated by perceptual illusions. The “rubber hand illusion” (RHI) leads human subjects to experience an artificial hand as their own. According to functional imaging, the ventral premotor cortex (PMv) plays a key role in the integration of multisensory inputs allowing the “incorporation” of the rubber hand into body representation. However, causal structure–function relationships can only be obtained by lesion studies.
Here, we tested the RHI in 70 stroke patients and in 40 age-matched healthy controls. Additionally, asomatognosia, the unawareness of one’s own body parts, was assessed in a subgroup of 64 stroke patients. Ischemic lesions were delineated on diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance images and normalized. Right-hemispheric lesions were mirrored across the midline. Voxels that might be essential for RHI and/or somatognosia were defined by voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping. Probabilistic diffusion tractography was used to identify tracts passing through these voxels.
Contralesional rubber hand illusion failure (RHIF) was observed in 18 (26%) of 70 stroke patients, an additional ipsilesional RHIF in seven of these patients. RHIF-associated lesion voxels were located subcortically adjacent to the insula, basal ganglia, and within the periventricular white matter. Tractography revealed fiber tract connections of these voxels with premotor, parietal, and prefrontal cortex. Contralesional asomatognosia was found in 18 (28%) of 64 stroke patients. In contrast to RHIF, asomatognosia-associated lesion voxels showed no connection with PMv.
The results point to a role of PMv and its connections in mediating changes in the sense of limb ownership driven by multisensory stimulation.
PMCID: PMC3119817  PMID: 21451023

Results 1-3 (3)