Congenital Mirror Movements in a New Italian Family.
ABSTRACT: Mirror movements (MMs) occur on the contralateral side of a limb being used intentionally. Because few families with congenital MMs and no other neurological signs have been reported, the underlying mechanisms of MMs are still not entirely clear. We report on the clinical, genetic, neurophysiological and neuroimaging findings of 10 of 26 living members of a novel four-generation family with congenital MMs. DCC and RAD51 were sequenced in affected members of the family. Five of the ten subjects with MMs underwent neurophysiological and neuroimaging evaluations. The neurophysiological evaluation consisted of electromyographic (EMG) mirror recordings, investigations of corticospinal excitability, and analysis of interhemispheric inhibition using transcranial magnetic stimulation techniques. The neuroimaging evaluation included functional MRI during finger movements. Eight (all females) of the ten members examined presented MMs of varying degrees at the clinical assessment. Transmission of MMs appears to have occurred according to an autosomal-dominant fashion with variable expression. No mutation in DCC or RAD51 was identified. EMG mirror activity was higher in MM subjects than in healthy controls. Short-latency interhemispheric inhibition was reduced in MM subjects. Ipsilateral motor-evoked potentials were detectable in the most severe case. The neuroimaging evaluation did not disclose any significant abnormalities in MM subjects. The variability of the clinical features of this family, and the lack of known genetic abnormalities, suggests that MMs are heterogeneous disorders. The pathophysiological mechanisms of MMs include abnormalities of transcallosal inhibition and corticospinal decussation.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Recently identified mutations of the axon guidance molecule receptor gene, DCC, present an opportunity to investigate, in living human brain, mechanisms affecting neural connectivity and the basis of mirror movements, involuntary contralateral responses that mirror voluntary unilateral actions. We hypothesized that haploinsufficient DCC+/- mutation carriers with mirror movements would exhibit decreased DCC mRNA expression, a functional ipsilateral corticospinal tract, greater "mirroring" motor representations, and reduced interhemispheric inhibition. DCC+/- mutation carriers without mirror movements might exhibit some of these features. METHODS:The participants (n?=?52) included 13 DCC+/- mutation carriers with mirror movements, 7 DCC+/- mutation carriers without mirror movements, 13 relatives without the mutation or mirror movements, and 19 unrelated healthy volunteers. The multimodal approach comprised quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) under resting and task conditions, and measures of white matter integrity. RESULTS:Mirror movements were associated with reduced DCC mRNA expression, increased ipsilateral TMS-induced motor evoked potentials, increased fMRI responses in the mirroring M1 and cerebellum, and markedly reduced interhemispheric inhibition. The DCC+/- mutation, irrespective of mirror movements, was associated with reduced functional connectivity and white matter integrity. INTERPRETATION:Diverse connectivity abnormalities were identified in mutation carriers with and without mirror movements, but corticospinal effects and decreased peripheral DCC mRNA appeared driven by the mirror movement phenotype. ANN NEUROL 2019;85:433-442.
Project description:The acquisition and evolution of speech production, discourse and communication can be negatively impacted by brain malformations. We describe, for the first time, a case of developmental dynamic dysphasia (DDD) in a right-handed adolescent boy (subject D) with cortical malformations involving language-eloquent regions (inferior frontal gyrus) in both the left and the right hemispheres. Language evaluation revealed a markedly reduced verbal output affecting phonemic and semantic fluency, phrase and sentence generation and verbal communication in everyday life. Auditory comprehension, repetition, naming, reading and spelling were relatively preserved, but executive function was impaired. Multimodal neuroimaging showed a malformed cerebral cortex with atypical configuration and placement of white matter tracts bilaterally and abnormal callosal fibers. Dichotic listening showed right hemisphere dominance for language, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) additionally revealed dissociated hemispheric language representation with right frontal activation for phonology and bilateral dominance for semantic processing. Moreover, subject D also had congenital mirror movements (CMM), defined as involuntary movements of one side of the body that mirror intentional movements of the other side. Transcranial magnetic stimulation and fMRI during voluntary unimanual (left and right) hand movements showed bilateral motor cortex recruitment and tractography revealed a lack of decussation of bilateral corticospinal tracts. Genetic testing aimed to detect mutations that disrupt the development of commissural tracts correlating with CMM (e.g., Germline DCC mutations) was negative. Overall, our findings suggest that DDD in subject D resulted from the underdevelopment of the left inferior frontal gyrus with limited capacity for plastic reorganization by its homologous counterpart in the right hemisphere. Corpus callosum anomalies probably contributed to hinder interhemispheric connectivity necessary to compensate language and communication deficits after left frontal involvement.
Project description:Converging evidence suggest that motor training is associated with early and late changes of the cortical motor system. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) offers the possibility to study plastic rearrangements of the motor system in physiological and pathological conditions. We used TMS to characterize long-term changes in upper limb motor cortical representation and interhemispheric inhibition associated with bimanual skill training in pianists who started playing in an early age. Ipsilateral silent period (iSP) and cortical TMS mapping of hand muscles were obtained from 30 strictly right-handed subjects (16 pianists, 14 naïve controls), together with electromyographic recording of mirror movements (MMs) to voluntary hand movements. In controls, motor cortical representation of hand muscles was larger on the dominant (DH) than on the non-dominant hemisphere (NDH). On the contrary, pianists showed symmetric cortical output maps, being their DH less represented than in controls. In naïve subjects, the iSP was smaller on the right vs left abductor pollicis brevis (APB) indicating a weaker inhibition from the NDH to the DH. In pianists, interhemispheric inhibition was more symmetric as their DH was better inhibited than in controls. Electromyographic MMs were observed only in naïve subjects (7/14) and only to voluntary movement of the non-dominant hand. Subjects with MM had a lower iSP area on the right APB compared with all the others. Our findings suggest a more symmetrical motor cortex organization in pianists, both in terms of muscle cortical representation and interhemispheric inhibition. Although we cannot disentangle training-related from preexisting conditions, it is possible that long-term bimanual practice may reshape motor cortical representation and rebalance interhemispheric interactions, which in naïve right-handed subjects would both tend to favour the dominant hemisphere.
Project description:Congenital mirror movements (CMM) are characterized by involuntary movements of one side of the body that mirror intentional movements on the opposite side. CMM reflect dysfunctions and structural abnormalities of the motor network and are mainly inherited in an autosomal-dominant fashion. Recently, heterozygous mutations in DCC, the gene encoding the receptor for netrin 1 and involved in the guidance of developing axons toward the midline, have been identified but CMM are genetically heterogeneous. By combining genome-wide linkage analysis and exome sequencing, we identified heterozygous mutations introducing premature termination codons in RAD51 in two families with CMM. RAD51 mRNA was significantly downregulated in individuals with CMM resulting from the degradation of the mutated mRNA by nonsense-mediated decay. RAD51 was specifically present in the developing mouse cortex and, more particularly, in a subpopulation of corticospinal axons at the pyramidal decussation. The identification of mutations in RAD51, known for its key role in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks through homologous recombination, in individuals with CMM reveals a totally unexpected role of RAD51 in neurodevelopment. These findings open a new field of investigation for researchers attempting to unravel the molecular pathways underlying bimanual motor control in humans.
Project description:DCC, a NETRIN-1 receptor, is considered as a cell-autonomous regulator for midline guidance of many commissural populations in the central nervous system. The corticospinal tract (CST), the principal motor pathway for voluntary movements, crosses the anatomic midline at the pyramidal decussation. CST fails to cross the midline in Kanga mice expressing a truncated DCC protein. Humans with heterozygous DCC mutations have congenital mirror movements (CMM). As CMM has been associated, in some cases, with malformations of the pyramidal decussation, DCC might also be involved in this process in human. Here, we investigated the role of DCC in CST midline crossing both in human and mice. First, we demonstrate by multimodal approaches, that patients with CMM due to DCC mutations have an increased proportion of ipsilateral CST projections. Second, we show that in contrast to Kanga mice, the anatomy of the CST is not altered in mice with a deletion of DCC in the CST. Altogether, these results indicate that DCC controls CST midline crossing in both humans and mice, and that this process is non cell-autonomous in mice. Our data unravel a new level of complexity in the role of DCC in CST guidance at the midline.
Project description:Migrating axons require the correct presentation of guidance molecules, often at multiple choice points, to find their target. Netrin 1, a bifunctional cue involved in both attracting and repelling axons, is involved in many cell migration and axon pathfinding processes in the CNS. The netrin 1 receptor DCC and its Caenorhabditis elegans homolog UNC-40 have been implicated in directing the guidance of axons toward netrin sources, whereas the C. elegans UNC-6 receptor, UNC-5 is necessary for migrations away from UNC-6. However, a role of vertebrate UNC-5 homologs in axonal migration has not been demonstrated. We demonstrate that the Unc5h3 gene product, shown previously to regulate cerebellar granule cell migrations, also controls the guidance of the corticospinal tract, the major tract responsible for coordination of limb movements. Furthermore, we show that corticospinal tract fibers respond differently to loss of UNC5H3. In addition, we observe corticospinal tract defects in mice homozygous for a spontaneous mutation that truncates the Dcc transcript. Postnatal day 0 netrin 1 mutant mice also demonstrate corticospinal tract abnormalities. Last, interactions between the Dcc and Unc5h3 mutations were observed in gene dosage experiments. This is the first evidence of an involvement in axon guidance for any member of the vertebrate unc-5 family and confirms that both the cellular and axonal guidance functions of C. elegans unc-5 have been conserved in vertebrates.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Neuroimaging technology is being developed to enable non-invasive mapping of the latency distribution of cortical projection pathways in white matter, and correlative clinical neurophysiological techniques would be valuable for mutual verification. Interhemispheric interaction through the corpus callosum can be measured with interhemispheric facilitation and inhibition using transcranial magnetic stimulation. OBJECTIVE:To develop a method for determining the latency distribution of the transcallosal fibers with transcranial magnetic stimulation. METHODS:We measured the precise time courses of interhemispheric facilitation and inhibition with a conditioning-test paired-pulse magnetic stimulation paradigm. The conditioning stimulus was applied to the right primary motor cortex and the test stimulus was applied to the left primary motor cortex. The interstimulus interval was set at 0.1 ms resolution. The proportions of transcallosal fibers with different conduction velocities were calculated by measuring the changes in magnitudes of interhemispheric facilitation and inhibition with interstimulus interval. RESULTS:Both interhemispheric facilitation and inhibition increased with increment in interstimulus interval. The magnitude of interhemispheric facilitation was correlated with that of interhemispheric inhibition. The latency distribution of transcallosal fibers measured with interhemispheric facilitation was also correlated with that measured with interhemispheric inhibition. CONCLUSIONS:The data can be interpreted as latency distribution of transcallosal fibers. Interhemispheric interaction measured with transcranial magnetic stimulation is a promising technique to determine the latency distribution of the transcallosal fibers. Similar techniques could be developed for other cortical pathways.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The two human cerebral hemispheres are continuously interacting, through excitatory and inhibitory influences and one critical structure subserving this interhemispheric balance is the corpus callosum. Interhemispheric neurophysiological abnormalities and intrahemispheric behavioral impairments have been reported in individuals lacking the corpus callosum. The aim of this study was to examine intrahemispheric neurophysiological function in primary motor cortex devoid of callosal projections. METHODS: Intracortical excitatory and inhibitory systems were tested in three individuals with complete agenesis of the corpus callosum and sixteen healthy individuals. These systems were assessed using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) protocols: motor threshold at rest, paired-pulse curve, and cortical silent period. RESULTS: TMS revealed no difference between the patient and control groups on the motor threshold measure, as well as intracortical facilitation and intracortical inhibition systems as tested by paired stimulation. However, intrahemispheric inhibitory function was found to be abnormal in participants without callosal projections, as the cortical silent period duration was significantly increased in the patient group. CONCLUSION: These data suggest that in addition to previously reported impaired interhemispheric function, patients lacking the entire corpus callosum also display abnormal intrahemispheric excitability of the primary motor cortex.
Project description:Functional and structural reorganization in the brain occurs after stroke. The ability to predict motor outcomes may depend on patterns of brain functional and structural connectivity. We tested the hypothesis that alterations in motor transcallosal and corticospinal connections correlate with motor impairment in patients with chronic stroke. Eleven ischemic stroke patients underwent the Upper Extremity Fugl-Meyer (UE-FM) assessment, resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging, and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Twelve healthy control subjects underwent DTI. We assessed the temporal coupling in neural activity between interhemispheric motor cortex, and white matter integrity by means of fractional anisotropy (FA), in the transcallosal motor fibers and corticospinal tract. Partial correlation analyses were performed to determine whether these connectivity measures correlate with Upper UE-FM scores. Patients compared to controls had reduced FA in common voxels of transcallosal motor and ipsilesional corticospinal fibers. Within the patient group those with higher interhemispheric motor cortex connectivity and higher FA in the transcallosal motor fibers were less impaired. The results show that markers of functional and structural motor cortex connectivity correlate with motor impairment in the chronic stage of stroke.
Project description:Since its original proposal, mirror therapy has been established as a successful neurorehabilitative intervention in several neurological disorders to recover motor function or to relieve pain. Mirror therapy seems to operate by reactivating the contralesional representation of the non-mirrored limb in primary motor- and somatosensory cortex. However, mirror boxes have some limitations which prompted the use of additional mirror visual feedback devices. The present study evaluated the utility of mirror glasses compared to a mirror box. We also tested the hypothesis that increased interhemispheric communication between the motor hand areas is the mechanism by which mirror visual feedback recruits the representation of the non-mirrored limb. Therefore, mirror illusion capacity and brain activations were measured in a within-subject design during both mirror visual feedback conditions in counterbalanced order with 20 healthy subjects inside a magnetic resonance imaging scanner. Furthermore, we analyzed task-dependent functional connectivity between motor hand representations using psychophysiological interaction analysis during both mirror tasks. Neither the subjective quality of mirror illusions nor the patterns of functional brain activation differed between the mirror tasks. The sensorimotor representation of the non-mirrored hand was recruited in both mirror tasks. However, a significant increase in interhemispheric connectivity between the hand areas was only observed in the mirror glasses condition, suggesting different mechanisms for the recruitment of the representation of the non-mirrored hand in the two mirror tasks. We conclude that the mirror glasses might be a promising alternative to the mirror box, as they induce similar patterns of brain activation. Moreover, the mirror glasses can be easy applied in therapy and research. We want to emphasize that the neuronal mechanisms for the recruitment of the affected limb representation might differ depending on conceptual differences between MVF devices. However, our findings need to be validated within specific patient groups.