Advances in the pathophysiology of adult-onset focal dystonias: recent neurophysiological and neuroimaging evidence.
ABSTRACT: Focal dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions that determine abnormal postures. The traditional hypothesis that the pathophysiology of focal dystonia entails a single structural dysfunction (i.e. basal ganglia) has recently come under scrutiny. The proposed network disorder model implies that focal dystonias arise from aberrant communication between various brain areas. Based on findings from animal studies, the role of the cerebellum has attracted increased interest in the last few years. Moreover, it has been increasingly reported that focal dystonias also include nonmotor disturbances, including sensory processing abnormalities, which have begun to attract attention. Current evidence from neurophysiological and neuroimaging investigations suggests that cerebellar involvement in the network and mechanisms underlying sensory abnormalities may have a role in determining the clinical heterogeneity of focal dystonias.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Dystonia, a debilitating movement disorder characterized by abnormal fixed positions and/or twisting postures, is associated with dysfunction of motor control networks. While gross brain lesions can produce secondary dystonias, advanced neuroimaging techniques have been required to identify network abnormalities in primary dystonias. Prior neuroimaging studies have provided valuable insights into the pathophysiology of dystonia, but few directly assessed the gross volume of motor control regions, and to our knowledge, none identified abnormalities common to multiple types of idiopathic focal dystonia.<h4>Methods</h4>We used two gross volumetric segmentation techniques and one voxelwise volumetric technique (voxel based morphometry, VBM) to compare regional volume between matched healthy controls and patients with idiopathic primary focal dystonia (cervical, n = 17, laryngeal, n = 7). We used (1) automated gross volume measures of eight motor control regions using the FreeSurfer analysis package; (2) blinded, anatomist-supervised manual segmentation of the whole thalamus (also gross volume); and (3) voxel based morphometry, which measures local T1-weighted signal intensity and estimates gray matter density or volume at the level of single voxels, for both whole-brain and thalamus.<h4>Results</h4>Using both automated and manual gross volumetry, we found a significant volume decrease only in the thalamus in two focal dystonias. Decreases in whole-thalamic volume were independent of head and brain size, laterality of symptoms, and duration. VBM measures did not differ between dystonia and control groups in any motor control region.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Reduced thalamic gross volume, detected in two independent analyses, suggests a common anatomical abnormality in cervical dystonia and spasmodic dysphonia. Defining the structural underpinnings of dystonia may require such complementary approaches.
Project description:Dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions resulting in abnormal postures. Although common in the clinic, the etiology of dystonia remains unclear. Most dystonias are idiopathic and are not associated with clear pathological brain abnormalities. Attempts to genetically model these dystonias in rodents have failed to replicate dystonic symptoms. This is at odds with the fact that rodents can exhibit dystonia. Because of this discrepancy, it is necessary to consider alternative approaches to generate phenotypically and genotypically faithful models of dystonia. Conditional knockout of dystonia-related genes is 1 technique that may prove useful for modeling genetic dystonias. Lentiviral-mediated small or short hairpin RNA (shRNA) knockdown of particular genes is another approach. Finally, in cases in which the function of a dystonia-related gene is well-known, pharmacological blockade of the protein product can be used. Such an approach was successfully implemented in the case of rapid-onset dystonia parkinsonism, DYT12. This (DYT12) is a hereditary dystonia caused by mutations in the ?? isoform of the sodium potassium adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) pump (sodium pump), which partially hampers its physiological function. It was found that partial selective pharmacological block of the sodium pumps in the cerebellum and basal ganglia of mice recapitulates all of the salient features of DYT12, including dystonia and parkinsonism induced by stress. This DYT12 model is unique in that it faithfully replicates human symptoms of DYT12, while targeting the genetic cause of this disorder. Acute disruption of proteins implicated in dystonia may prove a generally fruitful method to model dystonia in rodents.
Project description:Dystonia, which causes intermittent or sustained abnormal postures and movements, can present in a focal or a generalized manner. In the limbs, focal dystonia can occur in either the upper or lower limbs and may be task-specific causing abnormal motor performance for only a specific task, such as in writer's cramp, runner's dystonia, or musician's dystonia. Focal limb dystonia can be non-task-specific and may, in some circumstances, be associated with parkinsonian disorders. The true prevalence of focal limb dystonia is not known and is likely currently underestimated, leaving a knowledge gap and an opportunity for future research. The pathophysiology of focal limb dystonia shares some commonalities with other dystonias with a loss of inhibition in the central nervous system and a loss of the normal regulation of plasticity, called homeostatic plasticity. Functional imaging studies revealed abnormalities in several anatomical networks that involve the cortex, basal ganglia, and cerebellum. Further studies should focus on distinguishing cause from effect in both physiology and imaging studies to permit focus on most relevant biological correlates of dystonia. There is no specific therapy for the treatment of limb dystonia given the variability in presentation, but off-label botulinum toxin therapy is often applied to focal limb and task-specific dystonia. Various rehabilitation techniques have been applied and rehabilitation interventions may improve outcomes, but small sample size and lack of direct comparisons between methods to evaluate comparative efficacy limit conclusions. Finally, non-invasive and invasive therapeutic modalities have been explored in small studies with design limitations that do not yet clearly provide direction for larger clinical trials that could support new clinical therapies. Given these gaps in our clinical, pathophysiologic, and therapeutic knowledge, we have identified priorities for future research including: the development of diagnostic criteria for limb dystonia, more precise phenotypic characterization and innovative clinical trial design that considers clinical heterogeneity, and limited available number of participants.
Project description:Dystonias are heterogeneous hyperkinetic movement disorders characterized by involuntary muscle contractions which result in twisting and repetitive movements and abnormal postures. Several causative genes have been identified, but their genetic bases still remain elusive. Primary Torsion Dystonias (PTDs), in which dystonia is the only clinical sign, can be inherited in a monogenic fashion, and many genes and loci have been identified for autosomal dominant (DYT1/TOR1A; DYT6/THAP1; DYT4/TUBB4a; DYT7; DYT13; DYT21; DYT23/CIZ1; DYT24/ANO3; DYT25/GNAL) and recessive (DYT2; DYT17) forms. However most sporadic cases, especially those with late-onset, are likely multifactorial, with genetic and environmental factors interplaying to reach a threshold of disease. At present, genetic counseling of dystonia patients remains a difficult task. Recently non-motor clinical findings in dystonias, new highlights in the pathophysiology of the disease, and the availability of high-throughput genome-wide techniques are proving useful tools to better understand the complexity of PTD genetics. We briefly review the genetic basis of the most common forms of hereditary PTDs, and discuss relevant issues related to molecular diagnosis and genetic counseling.
Project description:Rehabilitation interventions are rarely utilized as an alternative or adjunct therapy for focal dystonias. Reasons for limited utilization are unknown, but lack of conclusive evidence of effectiveness is likely a crucial factor.The purpose of this systematic review was to determine the level of evidence for rehabilitation interventions in focal dystonias. Rehabilitation interventions were classified based upon the underlying theoretical basis of different approaches, and the strength of evidence for each category was evaluated to identify gaps in the field. Prospective studies using rehabilitation methods in cervical, hand, and foot dystonia were reviewed. The key elements of treatments tested were identified and studies were grouped into six categories based on the theoretical basis of the intervention: (1) movement practice, (2) training with constraint, (3) sensory reorganization, (4) normalization of muscle activity with external techniques, (5) neuromodulation with training, and (6) compensatory strategies. Quality of the body of evidence ranged from very low-to-low according to the grades of recommendation, assessment, development, and evaluation (GRADE). Despite inconclusive evidence for these rehabilitation approaches, data suggest that intensive movement practice and neuromodulation combined with motor training should be further explored.This systematic review presents a novel approach to classify studies of rehabilitation in focal dystonias based on the theoretical basis of intervention. The proposed classification system will move toward a unified theoretical understanding of rehabilitation interventions in dystonia. Moreover, it will help provide recommendations for clinical applications and future investigations.
Project description:Literary reports on dystonia date back to post-Medieval times. Medical reports are instead more recent. We review here the early descriptions and the historical establishment of a consensus on the clinical phenomenology and the diagnostic features of dystonia syndromes. Lumping and splitting exercises have characterized this area of knowledge, and it remains largely unclear how many dystonia types we are to count. This review describes the history leading to recognize that focal dystonia syndromes are a coherent clinical set encompassing cranial dystonia (including blepharospasm), oromandibular dystonia, spasmodic torticollis, truncal dystonia, writer's cramp, and other occupational dystonias. Papers describing features of dystonia and diagnostic criteria are critically analyzed and put into historical perspective. Issues and inconsistencies in this lumping effort are discussed, and the currently unmet needs are critically reviewed.
Project description:Dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by sustained muscle contractions producing twisting, repetitive, and patterned movements or abnormal postures. Dystonia is among the most commonly observed movement disorders in clinical practice both in adults and children. It is classified on the basis of etiology, age at onset of symptoms, and distribution of affected body regions. Etiology:The etiology of pediatric dystonia is quite heterogeneous. There are many different genetic syndromes and several causes of symptomatic syndromes. Dystonia can be secondary to virtually any pathological process that affects the motor system, and particularly the basal ganglia. Classification:The etiological classification distinguishes primary dystonia with no identifiable exogenous cause or evidence of neurodegeneration and secondary syndromes. Treatment:Treatment for most forms of dystonia is symptomatic and includes drugs (systemic or focal treatments, such as botulinum toxin) and surgical procedures. There are several medications including anticholinergic, dopamine-blocking and depleting agents, baclofen, and benzodiazepines. In patients with dopamine synthesis defects L-dopa treatment may be very useful. Botulinum toxin treatment may be helpful in controlling the most disabling symptoms of segmental or focal dystonia. Long-term electrical stimulation of the globus pallidum internum appears to be especially successful in children suffering from generalized dystonia.
Project description:Mutations in RAB (member of the Ras superfamily) genes are increasingly recognized as cause of a variety of disorders including neurological conditions. While musician's dystonia (MD) and writer's dystonia (WD) are task-specific movement disorders, other dystonias persistently affect postures as in cervical dystonia. Little is known about the underlying etiology. Next-generation sequencing revealed a rare missense variant (c.586A>G; p.Ile196Val) in RAB12 in two of three MD/WD families. Next, we tested 916 additional dystonia patients; 512 Parkinson's disease patients; and 461 healthy controls for RAB12 variants and identified 10 additional carriers of rare missense changes among dystonia patients (1.1%) but only one carrier in non-dystonic individuals (0.1%; p = 0.005). The detected variants among index patients comprised p.Ile196Val (n = 6); p.Ala174Thr (n = 3); p.Gly13Asp; p.Ala148Thr; and p.Arg181Gln in patients with MD; cervical dystonia; or WD. Two relatives of MD patients with WD also carried p.Ile196Val. The two variants identified in MD patients (p.Ile196Val; p.Gly13Asp) were characterized on endogenous levels in patient-derived fibroblasts and in two RAB12-overexpressing cell models. The ability to hydrolyze guanosine triphosphate (GTP), so called GTPase activity, was increased in mutants compared to wildtype. Furthermore, subcellular distribution of RAB12 in mutants was altered in fibroblasts. Soluble Transferrin receptor 1 levels were reduced in the blood of all three tested p.Ile196Val carriers. In conclusion, we demonstrate an enrichment of missense changes among dystonia patients. Functional characterization revealed altered enzyme activity and lysosomal distribution in mutants suggesting a contribution of RAB12 variants to MD and other dystonias.
Project description:Oromandibular dystonia is characterized by persistent contractions and repetitive spasms of masticatory muscles surrounding the oral cavity and lingual muscles. The lingual dystonia is rare hyperkinetic movement disorder, often occurring secondary to drugs. The common drugs which can cause acute focal dystonia are neuroleptics, antiemetics, and antipsychotics. Isolated lingual dystonia is a rare form of disabling focal dystonias. We report a young female, who developed tongue dystonia in isolation and responding favorably to antihistaminics. The physicians are advised to make inquiry about administered drugs in isolated lingual dystonia.
Project description:Dystonia has been defined as a syndrome of involuntary, sustained muscle contractions affecting one or more sites of the body, frequently causing twisting and repetitive movements or abnormal postures. Dystonia is also a clinical sign that can be the presenting or prominent manifestation of many neurodegenerative and neurometabolic disorders. Etiological categories include primary dystonia, secondary dystonia, heredodegenerative diseases with dystonia, and dystonia plus. Primary dystonia includes syndromes in which dystonia is the sole phenotypic manifestation with the exception that tremor can be present as well. Most primary dystonia begins in adults, and approximately 10% of probands report one or more affected family members. Many cases of childhood- and adolescent-onset dystonia are due to mutations in TOR1A and THAP1. Mutations in THAP1 and CIZ1 have been associated with sporadic and familial adult-onset dystonia. Although significant recent progress had been made in defining the genetic basis for most of the dystonia-plus and heredodegenerative diseases with dystonia, a major gap remains in understanding the genetic etiologies for most cases of adult-onset primary dystonia. Common themes in the cellular biology of dystonia include G1/S cell cycle control, monoaminergic neurotransmission, mitochondrial dysfunction, and the neuronal stress response.