Delusions are maladaptive beliefs about the world. Based upon experimental evidence that prediction error—a mismatch between expectancy and outcome—drives belief formation, this study examined the possibility that delusions form because of disrupted prediction-error processing. We used fMRI to determine prediction-error-related brain responses in 12 healthy subjects and 12 individuals (7 males) with delusional beliefs. Frontal cortex responses in the patient group were suggestive of disrupted prediction-error processing. Furthermore, across subjects, the extent of disruption was significantly related to an individual’s propensity to delusion formation. Our results support a neurobiological theory of delusion formation that implicates aberrant prediction-error signalling, disrupted attentional allocation and associative learning in the formation of delusional beliefs.
prediction error; associative learning; fMRI; delusions; psychosis
Recent reports of functional impairment in the ‘unaffected’ limb of stroke patients have suggested that these deficits vary with the side of lesion. This not only supports the idea that the ipsilateral hemisphere contributes to arm movements, but also implies that such contributions are lateralized. We have previously suggested that the left and right hemispheres are specialized for controlling different features of movement. In reaching movements, the non-dominant arm appears better adapted for achieving accurate final positions and the dominant arm for specifying initial trajectory features, such as movement direction and peak acceleration. The purpose of this study was to determine whether different features of control could characterize ipsilesional motor deficits following stroke. Healthy control subjects and patients with either left- or right-hemisphere damage performed targeted single-joint elbow movements of different amplitudes in their ipsilateral hemi-space. We predicted that left-hemisphere damage would produce deficits in specification of initial trajectory features, while right-hemisphere damage would produce deficits in final position accuracy. Consistent with our predictions, patients with left, but not right, hemisphere damage showed reduced modulation of acceleration amplitude. However, patients with right, but not left, hemisphere damage showed significantly larger errors in final position, which corresponded to reduced modulation of acceleration duration. Neither patient group differed from controls in terms of movement speed. Instead, the mechanisms by which speed was specified, through modulation of acceleration amplitude and modulation of acceleration duration, appeared to be differentially affected by left- and right-hemisphere damage. These findings support the idea that each hemisphere contributes differentially to the control of initial trajectory and final position, and that ipsilesional deficits following stroke reflect this lateralization in control.
lateralization; stroke; control; arm movements
Normobaric hyperoxia is under investigation as a treatment for acute ischaemic stroke. In experimental models, normobaric hyperoxia reduces cerebral ischaemic injury and improves functional outcome. The mechanisms of neuroprotection are still debated because, (i) inhalation of 100% O2 does not significantly increase total blood O2 content; (ii) it is not known whether normobaric hyperoxia increases O2 delivery to the severely ischaemic cortex because of its short diffusion distance; and (iii) hyperoxia may reduce collateral cerebral blood flow (CBF) to ischaemic penumbra because it can cause vasoconstriction. We addressed these issues using real-time two-dimensional multispectral reflectance imaging and laser speckle flowmetry to simultaneously and non-invasively determine the impact of normobaric hyperoxia on CBF and oxygenation in ischaemic cortex. Ischaemia was induced by distal middle cerebral artery occlusion (dMCAO) in normoxic (30% inhaled O2, arterial pO2 134 ± 9 mmHg), or hyperoxic mice (100% inhaled O2 starting 15 min after dMCAO, arterial pO2 312 ± 10 mmHg). Post-ischaemic normobaric hyperoxia caused an immediate and progressive increase in oxyhaemoglobin (oxyHb) concentration, nearly doubling it in ischaemic core within 60 min. In addition, hyperoxia improved CBF so that the area of cortex with ≤20% residual CBF was decreased by 45% 60 min after dMCAO. Furthermore, hyperoxia reduced the frequency of peri-infarct depolarizations (PIDs) by more than 60%, and diminished their deleterious effects on CBF and metabolic load. Consistent with these findings, infarct size was reduced by 45% in the hyperoxia group 2 days after 75 min transient dMCAO. Our data show that normobaric hyperoxia increases tissue O2 delivery, and that novel mechanisms such as CBF augmentation, and suppression of PIDs may afford neuroprotection during hyperoxia.
neuroprotection; laser speckle flowmetry; multispectral reflectance imaging; middle cerebral artery occlusion; acute stroke
Lesions obtained early in the course of multiple sclerosis (MS) have been studied immunocytochemically, and compared with the early stages of the experimental lesion induced in rats by the intraspinal injection of lipopolysaccharide. Large hemispheric or double hemispheric sections were examined from patients who had died in the course of acute or early relapsing multiple sclerosis. In MS patients exhibiting hypoxia-like lesions [Pattern III; Lucchinetti et al. Ann Neurol (2000) 47: 707–17], focal areas in the white matter showed mild oedema, microglial activation and mild axonal injury in the absence of overt demyelination. In such lesions T-cell infiltration was mild and restricted to the perivascular space. Myeloperoxidase and the inducible form of nitric oxide synthase were expressed primarily by microglia, and the activated form of these cells was associated with extracellular deposition of precipitated fibrin. In addition, these lesions showed up-regulation of proteins involved in tissue preconditioning. When active demyelination started, lesions were associated with massive T-cell infiltration and microglia and macrophages expressed all activation markers studied. Similar tissue alterations were found in rats in the pre-demyelinating stage of lesions induced by the focal injection of bacterial lipopolysaccharide into the spinal white matter. We suggest that the areas of microglial activation represent an early stage of tissue injury, which precedes the formation of hypoxia-like demyelinated plaques. The findings indicate that mechanisms associated with innate immunity may play a role in the formation of hypoxia-like demyelinating lesions in MS.
multiple sclerosis; lesion development; microglial activation; fibrin; innate immunity; lipopolysaccharide
Human locomotion must be flexible in order to meet varied environmental demands. Alterations to the gait pattern occur on different time scales, ranging from fast, reactive adjustments to slower, more persistent adaptations. A recent study in humans showed the cerebellum to play a key role for slower walking adaptations in inter-limb coordination during split-belt treadmill walking, but not fast reactive changes. It is not known whether cerebral structures are also important in these processes, though some studies of cats have suggested that they are not. In this study, we used a split-belt treadmill walking task to test whether cerebral damage from stroke impairs either type of flexibility. Results showed that stroke involving cerebral structures did not impair either reactive or adaptive abilities and did not disrupt storage of new inter-limb relationships (i.e. after-effects). This suggests that cerebellar interactions with brainstem, rather than cerebral structures, comprise the critical circuit for this type of inter-limb control. Further, the after-effects from a 15-minute adaptation session could temporarily induce symmetry in subjects who demonstrated baseline asymmetry of spatio-temporal gait parameters. In order to re-establish symmetric walking, the choice of which leg is on the fast belt during split-belt walking must be based on the subject’s initial asymmetry. These findings demonstrate that cerebral stroke survivors are indeed able to adapt inter-limb coordination. This raises the possibility that asymmetric walking patterns post-stroke could be remediated utilizing the split-belt treadmill as a long-term rehabilitation strategy.
stroke; motor; locomotion; movement
Numerous treatment strategies for spinal cord injury seek to maximize recovery of function and two strategies that show substantial promise are olfactory bulb-derived olfactory ensheathing glia (OEG) transplantation and treadmill step training. In this study we re-examined the issue of the effectiveness of OEG implantation but used objective, quantitative measures of motor performance to test if there is a complementary effect of long-term step training and olfactory bulb-derived OEG implantation. We studied complete mid-thoracic spinal cord transected adult female rats and compared four experimental groups: media-untrained, media-trained, OEG-untrained and OEG-trained. To assess the extent of hindlimb locomotor recovery at 4 and 7 months post-transection we used three quantitative measures of stepping ability: plantar stepping performance until failure, joint movement shape and movement frequency compared to sham controls. OEG transplantation alone significantly increased the number of plantar steps performed at 7 months post-transection, while training alone had no effect at either time point. Only OEG-injected rats plantar placed their hindpaws for more than two steps by the 7-month endpoint of the study. OEG transplantation combined with training resulted in the highest percentage of spinal rats per group that plantar stepped, and was the only group to significantly improve its stepping abilities between the 4- and 7-month evaluations. Additionally, OEG transplantation promoted tissue sparing at the transection site, regeneration of noradrenergic axons and serotonergic axons spanning the injury site. Interestingly, the caudal stump of media- and OEG-injected rats contained a similar density of serotonergic axons and occasional serotonin-labelled interneurons. These data demonstrate that olfactory bulb-derived OEG transplantation improves hindlimb stepping in paraplegic rats and further suggest that task-specific training may enhance this OEG effect.
locomotion; regeneration; spinal cord injury; rehabilitation; olfactory ensheathing glia
Orbitofrontal Cortex (OFC) structural abnormality in schizophrenia has not been well characterized, probably due to marked anatomical variability and lack of consistent definitions. We previously reported OFC sulcogyral pattern alteration and its associations with social disturbance in schizophrenia, but OFC volume associations with psychopathology and cognition have not been investigated. We compared chronically treated schizophrenia patients with healthy control (HC) subjects, using a novel, reliable parcellation of OFC subregions and their association with cognition, especially the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), and with schizophrenic psychopathology including thought disorder. Twenty-four patients with schizophrenia and 25 age-matched HC subjects underwent MRI. OFC Regions of Interest (ROI) were manually delineated according to anatomical boundaries: Gyrus Rectus (GR); Middle Orbital Gyrus (MiOG); and Lateral Orbital Gyrus (LOG). The OFC sulcogyral pattern was also classified. Additionally, MiOG probability maps were created and compared between groups in a voxel-wise manner. Both groups underwent cognitive evaluations using the IGT, Wisconsin Card SortingTest, and Trail Making Test (TMT). An 11% bilaterally smaller MiOG volume was observed in schizophrenia, compared with HC (F1,47=17.4, P= 0.0001). GR and LOG did not differ, although GR showed a rightward asymmetry in both groups (F1,47=19.2, P<0.0001). The smaller MiOG volume was independent of the OFC sulcogyral pattern, which differed in schizophrenia and HC (χ2=12.49, P= 0.002). A comparison of MiOG probability maps suggested that the anterior heteromodal region was more affected in the schizophrenia group than the posterior paralimbic region. In the schizophrenia group, a smaller left MiOG was strongly associated with worse `positive formal thought disorder' (r=−0.638, P= 0.001), and a smaller right MiOG with a longer duration of the illness (r=−0.618, P= 0.002). While schizophrenics showed poorer performance than HC in the IGT, performance was not correlated with OFC volume. However, within the HC group, the larger the right hemisphere MiOG volume, the better the performance in the IGT (r=0.541, P= 0.005), and the larger the left hemisphere volume, the faster the switching attention performance for the TMT, Trails B (r=−0.608, P= 0.003). The present study, applying a new anatomical parcellation method, demonstrated a subregion-specific OFC grey matter volume deficit in patients with schizophrenia, which was independent of OFC sulcogyral pattern. This volume deficit was associated with a longer duration of illness and greater formal thought disorder. In HC the finding of a quantitative association between OFC volume and IGT performance constitutes, to our knowledge, the first report of this association.
schizophrenia; orbitofrontal region; thought disorder; decision making; Iowa gambling task
We analysed the influence of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy on the thickness of the corpus callosum (CC) in a large sample of well-characterized patients (n = 96) and healthy controls (n = 28). In particular, we investigated whether callosal structures are differentially affected depending on the affected hemisphere and age of epilepsy onset. Overall, we observed that epilepsy is associated with a decreased thickness in posterior callosal regions. Patients with an early onset, especially patients with left onset, additionally exhibited a smaller callosal thickness in more anterior and midbody regions. These findings may reflect non-specific as well as specific effects of temporal lobe epilepsy on CC development and interhemispheric connectivity.
corpus callosum; temporal lobe epilepsy; MRI
Orbitofrontal alteration in schizophrenia has not been well characterized, likely due to marked anatomical variability. To investigate the presence of such alterations, we evaluated the sulcogyral pattern of this ‘H-shaped’ sulcus. Fifty patients with schizophrenia (100 hemispheres) and 50 age- and gender-matched control subjects (100 hemispheres) were evaluated using 3D high-spatial resolution MRI. Based on a previous study by Chiavaras and Petrides (2000), the sulcogyral pattern of the ‘H-shaped’ sulcus, which forms the boundaries of major orbitofrontal gyri, was classified into three types (Type I, II and III, in order of frequency) within each hemisphere. Chi-square analysis was performed to compare the sulcogyral pattern, and categorical regression was applied to investigate clinical/cognitive associations. The control data replicated the orbitofrontal sulcogyral pattern reported by Chiavaras and Petrides (P = 0.90–0.95), where the distribution was significantly different between the left and right hemisphere (Type I: right>left, Type II, III: left>right, χ2 = 6.41, P = 0.041). For schizophrenics, the distribution differed significantly from controls (χ2 = 11.90, P = 0.003), especially in the right hemisphere (χ2 = 13.67, P = 0.001). Moreover, the asymmetry observed in controls was not present in schizophrenia (χ2 = 0.13, P = 0.94). Specifically, the most frequent Type I expression was decreased and the rarest Type III expression was increased in schizophrenia, relative to controls. Furthermore, patients with Type III expression in any hemisphere evinced poorer socioeconomic status, poorer cognitive function, more severe symptoms and impulsivity, compared to patients without Type III expression. In contrast, patients with Type I in any hemisphere showed better cognitive function and milder symptoms compared to patients without Type I. Structurally, patients with Type III had significantly smaller intra-cranial contents (ICC) volumes than did patients without Type III (t40 = 2.29, P = 0.027). The present study provides evidence of altered distribution of orbitofrontal sulcogyral pattern in schizophrenia, possibly reflecting a neurodevelopmental aberration in schizophrenia. Such altered sulcogyral pattern is unlikely to be due to secondary effects of the illness such as medication. Moreover, the structural association between Type III and small ICC volume, observed in the patient group, may suggest that Type III expression could be part of a systematic neurodevelopmental alteration, given that the small ICC volume could reflect early reduction of cranial growth driven by brain growth. The observed contrasting association of Type III expression with poorer outcome, and that of Type I expression with better outcome, further suggests clinical heterogeneity, and possible differences in treatment responsiveness in schizophrenia.
schizophrenia; sulcus; orbitofrontal cortex; magnetic resonance imaging; neurodevelopment
Neurodegenerative disorders are pathologically characterized by the deposition of abnormal proteins in the brain. It is likely that future treatment trials will target the underlying protein biochemistry and it is therefore increasingly important to be able to distinguish between different pathologies during life. The aim of this study was to determine whether rates of brain atrophy differ in neurodegenerative dementias that vary by pathological diagnoses and characteristic protein biochemistry. Fifty-six autopsied subjects were identified with a clinical diagnosis of dementia and two serial head MRI. Subjects were subdivided based on pathological diagnoses into Alzheimer's disease (AD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), mixed AD/DLB, frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-only-immunoreactive changes (FTLD-U), corticobasal degeneration (CBD) and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). Twenty-five controls were matched by age, gender, and scan interval, to the study cohort. The boundary-shift integral was used to calculate change over time in whole brain (BBSI) and ventricular volume (VBSI). All BSI results were annualized by adjusting for scan interval. The rates of whole brain atrophy and ventricular expansion were significantly increased compared to controls in the AD, mixed AD/DLB, FTLD-U, CBD and PSP groups. However, atrophy rates in the DLB group were not significantly different from control rates of atrophy. The largest rates of atrophy were observed in the CBD group which had a BBSI of 2.3% and VBSI of 16.2%. The CBD group had significantly greater rates of BBSI and VBSI than the DLB, mixed AD/DLB, AD and PSP groups, with a similar trend observed when compared to the FTLD-U group. The FTLD-U group showed the next largest rates with a BBSI of 1.7% and VBSI of 9.6% which were both significantly greater than the DLB group. There was no significant difference in the rates of atrophy between the AD, mixed AD/DLB and PSP groups, which all showed similar rates of atrophy; BBSI of 1.1, 1.3 and 1.0% and VBSI of 8.3, 7.2 and 10.9% respectively. Rates of atrophy therefore differ according to the pathological diagnoses and underlying protein biochemistry. While rates are unlikely to be useful in differentiating AD from cases with mixed AD/DLB pathology, they demonstrate important pathophysiological differences between DLB and those with mixed AD/DLB and AD pathology, and between those with CBD and PSP pathology.
magnetic resonance imaging; Alzheimer's disease; dementia with Lewy bodies; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; progressive supranuclear palsy
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI), particularly the amnestic subtype (aMCI), is considered as a transitional stage between normal aging and a diagnosis of clinically probable Alzheimer's disease (AD). The aMCI construct is particularly useful as it provides an opportunity to assess a clinical stage which in most subjects represents prodromal AD. The aim of this study was to assess the progression of cerebral atrophy over multiple serial MRI during the period from aMCI to conversion to AD. Thirty-three subjects were selected that fulfilled clinical criteria for aMCI and had three serial MRI scans: the first scan approximately three years before conversion to AD, the second scan approximately one year before conversion, and the third scan at the time of conversion from aMCI to AD. A group of 33 healthy controls were age and gender-matched to the study cohort. Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) was used to assess patterns of grey matter atrophy in the aMCI subjects at each time-point compared to the control group. Customized templates and prior probability maps were used to avoid normalization and segmentation bias. The pattern of grey matter loss in the aMCI subject scans that were three years before conversion was focused primarily on the medial temporal lobes, including the amygdala, anterior hippocampus and entorhinal cortex, with some additional involvement of the fusiform gyrus, compared to controls. The extent and magnitude of the cerebral atrophy further progressed by the time the subjects were one year before conversion. At this point atrophy in the temporal lobes spread to include the middle temporal gyrus, and extended into more posterior regions of the temporal lobe to include the entire extent of the hippocampus. The parietal lobe also started to become involved. By the time the subjects had converted to a clinical diagnosis of AD the pattern of grey matter atrophy had become still more widespread with more severe involvement of the medial temporal lobes and the temporoparietal association cortices and, for the first time, substantial involvement of the frontal lobes. This pattern of progression fits well with the Braak and Braak neurofibrillary pathological staging scheme in AD. It suggests that the earliest changes occur in the anterior medial temporal lobe and fusiform gyrus, and that these changes occur at least three years before conversion to AD. These results also suggest that 3-dimensional patterns of grey matter atrophy may help to predict the time to conversion in subjects with aMCI.
Alzheimer's disease; mild cognitive impairment; longitudinal; magnetic resonance imaging; voxel-based morphometry
Acute administration of neuropeptide Y (NPY) modulates alcohol intake in genetic and chemical models of high intake, while leaving intake unaffected during ‘normal’ or baseline conditions. In non-selected, normal rat lines, alcohol consumption can be increased by prolonged exposure to alcohol, and it is unclear what effect a constitutive increase in NPY function will have on alcohol intake. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects on alcohol intake of an inducible, constitutive overexpression of NPY, one of the most abundant neuropeptides in the central nervous system. A liquid diet was used in combination with repeated alcohol deprivation sessions to increase alcohol intake in normal Wistar rats. We then examined the effect of NPY overexpression in the amygdala on excessive alcohol intake produced by prolonged exposure to alcohol and alcohol deprivation. Repeated withdrawal increased alcohol consumption in a 24-h continuous access two-bottle choice model. Both the number of withdrawals as well as the length of the withdrawal periods affected alcohol consumption with an increased intake resulting from multiple withdrawals and the alcohol deprivation effect being enhanced by longer periods of abstinence. The increase in intake following repeated abstinence was blunted by intra-amygdala administration of a Sindbis viral vector containing NPY cDNA. Amygdala NPY overexpression also was demonstrated to be anxiolytic in the open field test. Repeated withdrawal in combination with a history of alcohol consumption significantly elevated alcohol intake, and the amygdala may mediate the transition to high-drinking states in this model.
alcoholism; animal model; neuropeptide Y; viral vector; amygdala
Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) is the second most common cause of degenerative dementia after Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, unlike in AD the patterns of cerebral atrophy associated with DLB have not been well established. The aim of this study was to identify a signature pattern of cerebral atrophy in DLB and to compare it to the pattern found in AD. Seventy-two patients that fulfilled clinical criteria for probable DLB were age and gender-matched to 72 patients with probable AD and 72 controls. Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) was used to assess patterns of grey matter atrophy in the DLB and AD groups, relative to controls, after correction for multiple comparisons (p<0.05). Study specific templates and prior probability maps were used to avoid normalization and segmentation bias. Region-of-interest (ROI) analyses were also performed comparing loss of the midbrain, substantia innominata (SI), temporoparietal cortex and hippocampus between the groups. The DLB group showed very little cortical involvement on VBM with regional grey matter loss observed primarily in the dorsal midbrain, SI and hypothalamus. In comparison, the AD group showed a widespread pattern of grey matter loss involving the temporoparietal association cortices and the medial temporal lobes. The SI and dorsal midbrain were involved in AD however they were not identified as a cluster of loss discrete from uninvolved surrounding areas, as observed in the DLB group. On direct comparison between the two groups, the AD group showed greater loss in the medial temporal lobe and inferior temporal regions than the DLB group. The ROI analysis showed reduced SI and midbrain grey matter in both the AD and DLB groups. The SI grey matter was reduced more in AD than DLB, yet the midbrain was reduced more in DLB than AD. The hippocampus and temporoparietal cortex showed significantly greater loss in the AD group compared to the DLB group. A pattern of relatively focused atrophy of the midbrain, hypothalamus and SI, with a relative sparing of the hippocampus and temporoparietal cortex, is therefore suggestive of DLB and may aid in the differentiation of DLB from AD. These findings support recent pathological studies showing an ascending pattern of Lewy Body progression from brainstem to basal areas of the brain. Damage to this network of structures in DLB may affect a number of different neurotransmitter systems which in turn may contribute to a number of the core clinical features of DLB.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies; Alzheimer's disease; voxel-based morphometry; magnetic resonance imaging; neurotransmitter systems
A distal symmetrical sensory peripheral neuropathy is frequently observed in people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1). This neuropathy can be associated with viral infection alone, probably involving a role for the envelope glycoprotein gp120; or a drug-induced toxic neuropathy associated with the use of nucleoside analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitors as a component of highly active anti-retroviral therapy. In order to elucidate the mechanisms underlying drug-induced neuropathy in the context of HIV infection, we have characterized pathological events in the peripheral and central nervous system following systemic treatment with the anti-retroviral agent, ddC (Zalcitabine) with or without the concomitant delivery of HIV-gp120 to the rat sciatic nerve (gp120+ddC). Systemic ddC treatment alone is associated with a persistent mechanical hypersensitivity (33% decrease in limb withdrawal threshold) that when combined with perineural HIV-gp120 is exacerbated (48% decrease in threshold) and both treatments result in thigmotactic (anxiety-like) behaviour. Immunohistochemical studies revealed little ddC-associated alteration in DRG phenotype, as compared with known changes following perineural HIV-gp120. However, the chemokine CCL2 is significantly expressed in the DRG of rats treated with perineural HIV-gp120 and/or ddC and there is a reduction in intraepidermal nerve fibre density, comparable to that seen in herpes zoster infection. Moreover, a spinal gliosis is apparent at times of peak behavioural sensitivity that is exacerbated in gp120+ddC as compared to either treatment alone. Treatment with the microglial inhibitor, minocycline, is associated with delayed onset of hypersensitivity to mechanical stimuli in the gp120+ddC model and reversal of some measures of thigmotaxis. Finally, the hypersensitivity to mechanical stimuli was sensitive to systemic treatment with gabapentin, morphine and the cannabinoid WIN 55,212-2, but not with amitriptyline. These data suggests that both neuropathic pain models display many features of HIV- and anti-retroviral-related peripheral neuropathy. They therefore merit further investigation for the elucidation of underlying mechanisms and may prove useful for preclinical assessment of drugs for the treatment of HIV-related peripheral neuropathic pain.
HIV; anti-retroviral drugs; neuropathy; DRG; microglia
Spasmodic dysphonia (SD) is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary spasms in the laryngeal muscles during speech production. Although clinical symptoms of SD are well characterized, the pathophysiology of this voice disorder is unknown. We describe here, for the first time to our knowledge, disorder-specific brain abnormalities in SD patients as determined by a combined approach of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and postmortem histopathology. We used DTI to identify brain changes in SD and to target those brain regions for neuropathological examination. DTI showed rightsided decrease of fractional anisotropy in the genu of the internal capsule and bilateral increase of overall water diffusivity in the white matter along the corticobulbar/corticospinal tract in 20 SD patients compared to 20 healthy subjects. In addition, water diffusivity was bilaterally increased in the lentiform nucleus, ventral thalamus, and cerebellar white and gray matter in SD patients. These brain changes were substantiated with focal histopathological abnormalities presented as a loss of axonal density and myelin content in the right genu of the internal capsule and clusters of mineral depositions containing calcium, phosphorus and iron in the parenchyma and vessel walls of the posterior limb of the internal capsule, putamen, globus pallidus, and cerebellum in the postmortem brain tissue from one SD patient compared to three controls. The specificity of these brain abnormalities is confirmed by their localization limited only to the corticobulbar/corticospinal tract and its main input/output structures. We also found positive correlation between the diffusivity changes and clinical symptoms of SD (r = 0.509, p = 0.037). These brain abnormalities may alter the central control of voluntary voice production and, therefore, may underlie the pathophysiology of SD.
laryngeal dystonia; corticobulbar tract; basal ganglia; neuroimaging; neuropathology
Visuo-attentional deficits occur early in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and are considered more responsive to pro-cholinergic therapy than characteristic memory disturbances. We hypothesised that neural responses in AD during visual attentional processing would be impaired relative to controls, yet partially susceptible to improvement with cholinesterase inhibition. We studied 16 mild AD patients and 17 age-matched healthy controls, using fMRI-scanning to enable within-subject placebo-controlled comparisons of the effects of physostigmine on stimulus- and attention-related brain activations, and to allow between-group comparisons for these. Subjects viewed stimuli comprising faces or buildings while performing a shallow judgement (colour of image) or a deep judgement (young/old age of depicted face or building). Behaviourally, AD subjects performed poorer than controls in both tasks, while physostigmine benefited AD patients for the more demanding age-judgement task. Stimulus-selective (face minus building, and vice versa) BOLD signals in precuneus and posterior parahippocampal cortex were attenuated in AD relative to controls but increased following physostigmine. By contrast, face-selective responses in fusiform cortex were not impaired in AD and showed decreases following physostigmine for both groups. Task-dependent responses in right parietal and prefrontal cortices were diminished in AD but improved following physostigmine. A similar pattern of group and treatment effects was observed in two extrastriate cortical regions that showed enhanced stimulus-selectivity for the deep versus shallow task. Finally, for the healthy group, physostigmine decreased task-dependent effects, partly due to an exaggeration of selectivity during the shallow relative to deep task. Our results demonstrate cholinergic-mediated improvements for both stimulus- and attention-dependent responses in functionally affected extrastriate and frontoparietal regions for AD. We also show that normal stimulus- and task-dependent activity patterns can be perturbed in the healthy brain by cholinergic stimulation.
fMRI; cholinergic; Alzheimer's disease; visual processing; attention
Though stuttering is manifest in its motor characteristics, the cause of stuttering may not relate purely to impairments in the motor system as stuttering frequency is increased by linguistic factors, such as syntactic complexity and length of utterance, and decreased by changes in perception, such as masking or altering auditory feedback. Using functional and diffusion imaging, we examined brain structure and function in the motor and language areas in a group of young people who stutter. During speech production, irrespective of fluency or auditory feedback, the people who stuttered showed overactivity relative to controls in the anterior insula, cerebellum and midbrain bilaterally and underactivity in the ventral premotor, Rolandic opercular and sensorimotor cortex bilaterally and Heschl’s gyrus on the left. These results are consistent with a recent meta-analysis of functional imaging studies in developmental stuttering. Two additional findings emerged from our study. First, we found overactivity in the midbrain, which was at the level of the substantia nigra and extended to the pedunculopontine nucleus, red nucleus and subthalamic nucleus. This overactivity is consistent with suggestions in previous studies of abnormal function of the basal ganglia or excessive dopamine in people who stutter. Second, we found underactivity of the cortical motor and premotor areas associated with articulation and speech production. Analysis of the diffusion data revealed that the integrity of the white matter underlying the underactive areas in ventral premotor cortex was reduced in people who stutter. The white matter tracts in this area via connections with posterior superior temporal and inferior parietal cortex provide a substrate for the integration of articulatory planning and sensory feedback, and via connections with primary motor cortex, a substrate for execution of articulatory movements. Our data support the conclusion that stuttering is a disorder related primarily to disruption in the cortical and subcortical neural systems supporting the selection, initiation and execution of motor sequences necessary for fluent speech production.
speech dysfluency; functional imaging; diffusion tensor imaging; basal ganglia; ventral premotor cortex
Because heme oxygenase (HO) is the rate limiting enzyme in the degradation of the pro-oxidant hemin/heme from blood, here we investigated the contribution of the inducible HO-1 to early brain injury produced by intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH). We found that after induction of ICH, HO-1 proteins were highly detectable in the peri-ICH region predominantly in microglia/macrophages and endothelial cells. Remarkably, the injury volume was significantly smaller in HO-1 knockout (HO-1−/−) mice than in wild-type controls 24 and 72 h after ICH. Although the brain water content did not appear to be significantly different, the protection in HO-1−/− mice was associated with a marked reduction in ICH-induced leucocyte infiltration, microglia/macrophage activation and free radical levels. These data reveal a previously unrecognized role of HO-1 in early brain injury after ICH. Thus, modulation of HO-1 signalling should be assessed further in clinical settings, especially for haemorrhagic states.
antioxidants; blood; hemin; HO-1; reactive oxygen species
The patient with word-finding difficulty presents a common and challenging clinical problem. The complaint of ‘word-finding difficulty’ covers a wide range of clinical phenomena and may signify any of a number of distinct pathophysiological processes. Although it occurs in a variety of clinical contexts, word-finding difficulty generally presents a diagnostic conundrum when it occurs as a leading or apparently isolated symptom, most often as the harbinger of degenerative disease: the progressive aphasias. Recent advances in the neurobiology of the focal, language-based dementias have transformed our understanding of these processes and the ways in which they breakdown in different diseases, but translation of this knowledge to the bedside is far from straightforward. Speech and language disturbances in the dementias present unique diagnostic and conceptual problems that are not fully captured by classical models derived from the study of vascular and other acute focal brain lesions. This has led to a reformulation of our understanding of how language is organized in the brain. In this review we seek to provide the clinical neurologist with a practical and theoretical bridge between the patient presenting with word-finding difficulty in the clinic and the evidence of the brain sciences. We delineate key illustrative speech and language syndromes in the degenerative dementias, compare these syndromes with the syndromes of acute brain damage, and indicate how the clinical syndromes relate to emerging neurolinguistic, neuroanatomical and neurobiological insights. We propose a conceptual framework for the analysis of word-finding difficulty, in order both better to define the patient's complaint and its differential diagnosis for the clinician and to identify unresolved issues as a stimulus to future work.
aphasia; progressive aphasia; anomia; dementia; speech and language
Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) can be difficult to differentiate clinically because of overlapping symptoms. Distinguishing the two dementias based on volumetric measurements of brain atrophy with MRI has been only partially successful. Whether MRI measurements of cortical thinning improve the differentiation between Alzheimer’s disease and FTD is unclear. In this study, we measured cortical thickness using a set of automated tools (Freesurfer) to reconstruct the brain’s cortical surface from T1-weighted structural MRI data in 22 patients with Alzheimer’s disease, 19 patients with FTD and 23 cognitively normal subjects. The goals were to detect the characteristic patterns of cortical thinning in these two types of dementia, to test the relationship between cortical thickness and cognitive impairment, to determine if measurement of cortical thickness is better than that of cortical volume for differentiating between these dementias and normal ageing and improving the classification of Alzheimer’s disease and FTD based on neuropsychological scores alone. Compared to cognitively normal subjects, Alzheimer’s disease patients had a thinner cortex primarily in bilateral, frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital lobes (P < 0.001), while FTD patients had a thinner cortex in bilateral, frontal and temporal regions and some thinning in inferior parietal regions and the posterior cingulate (P< 0.001). Compared to FTD patients, Alzheimer’s disease patients had a thinner cortex (P< 0.001) in parts of bilateral parietal and precuneus regions. Cognitive impairment was negatively correlated with cortical thickness of frontal, parietal and temporal lobes in Alzheimer’s disease, while similar correlations were not significant in FTD. Measurement of cortical thickness was similar to that of cortical volume in differentiating between normal ageing, Alzheimer’s disease and FTD. Furthermore, cortical thickness measurements significantly improved the classification between Alzheimer’s disease and FTD based on neuropsychological scores alone, including the Mini-Mental State Examination and a modified version of the Trail-Making Test. In conclusion, the characteristic patterns of cortical thinning in Alzheimer’s disease and FTD suggest that cortical thickness may be a useful surrogate marker for these types of dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease; frontotemporal dementia; cortical thickness; cortical volume
Multiple system tauopathy with presenile dementia (MSTD) is an inherited disease caused by a (g) to (a) transition at position +3 in intron 10 of Tau. It belongs to the spectrum of frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 with mutations in Tau (FTDP-17T). Here we present the longitudinal clinical, neuropsychological, neuroimaging, neuropathological, biochemical and genetic characterization of the MSTD family. Presenting signs were consistent with the behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia in 17 of 21 patients. Two individuals presented with an atypical form of progressive supranuclear palsy and two others with either severe postural imbalance or an isolated short-term memory deficit. Memory impairment was present at the onset in 15 patients, with word finding difficulties and stereotyped speech also being common. Parkinsonism was first noted 3 years after the onset of symptoms. Neuroimaging showed the most extensive grey matter loss in the hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus and frontal operculum/insular cortex of the right hemisphere and, to a lesser extent, in the anterior cingulate gyrus, head of the caudate nucleus and the posterolateral orbitofrontal cortex and insular cortex bilaterally. Neuropathologically, progressive nerve cell loss, gliosis and coexistent neuronal and/or glial deposits consisting mostly of 4-repeat tau were present in frontal, cingulate, temporal and insular cortices, white matter, hippocampus, parahippocampus, basal ganglia, selected brainstem nuclei and spinal cord. Tau haplotyping indicated that specific haplotypes of the wild-type allele may act as modifiers of disease presentation. Quantitative neuroimaging has been used to analyse the progression of atrophy in affected individuals and for predicting disease onset in an asymptomatic mutation carrier. This multidisciplinary study provides a comprehensive description of the natural history of disease in one of the largest known families with FTDP-17T.
frontotemporal dementia; progressive supranuclear palsy; hippocampus; voxel-based morphometry; Tau haplotype
In vivo functional imaging by means of positron emission tomography (PET) is the sole method for providing a quantitative measurement of μ-, κ and δ-opioid receptor-mediated signalling in the central nervous system. During the last two decades, measurements of changes to the regional brain opioidergic neuronal activation—mediated by endogenously produced opioid peptides, or exogenously administered opioid drugs—have been conducted in numerous chronic pain conditions, in epilepsy, as well as by stimulant- and opioidergic drugs. Although several PET-tracers have been used clinically for depiction and quantification of the opioid receptors changes, the underlying mechanisms for regulation of changes to the availability of opioid receptors are still unclear. After a presentation of the general signalling mechanisms of the opioid receptor system relevant for PET, a critical survey of the pharmacological properties of some currently available PET-tracers is presented. Clinical studies performed with different PET ligands are also reviewed and the compound-dependent findings are summarized. An outlook is given concluding with the tailoring of tracer properties, in order to facilitate for a selective addressment of dynamic changes to the availability of a single subclass, in combination with an optimization of the quantification framework are essentials for further progress in the field of in vivo opioid receptor imaging.
PET; opioid receptors; pain; epilepsy; addiction