Compensatory activity in the extrastriate body area of Parkinson's disease patients.
SourceThe Journal of Neuroscience, 32, 28, (2012), pp. 9546-9553
Article / Letter to editor
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The Journal of Neuroscience
SubjectDCN 2: Functional Neurogenomics NCEBP 10: Human Movement & Fatigue; DCN MP - Plasticity and memory; DCN MP - Plasticity and memory NCEBP 10: Human Movement & Fatigue
Compensatory mechanisms are a crucial component of the cerebral changes triggered by neurodegenerative disorders. Identifying such compensatory mechanisms requires at least two complementary approaches: localizing candidate areas using functional imaging, and showing that interference with these areas has behavioral consequences. Building on recent imaging evidence, we use this approach to test whether a visual region in the human occipito-temporal cortex-the extrastriate body area-compensates for altered dorsal premotor activity in Parkinson's disease (PD) during motor-related processes. We separately inhibited the extrastriate body area and dorsal premotor cortex in 11 PD patients and 12 healthy subjects, using continuous theta burst stimulation. Our goal was to test whether these areas are involved in motor compensatory processes. We used motor imagery to isolate a fundamental element of motor planning, namely subjects' ability to incorporate the current state of their body into a motor plan (mental hand rotation). We quantified this ability through a posture congruency effect (i.e., the improvement in subjects' performance when their current body posture is congruent to the imagined movement). Following inhibition of the right extrastriate body area, the posture congruency effect was lost in PD patients, but not in healthy subjects. In contrast, inhibition of the left dorsal premotor cortex reduced the posture congruency effect in healthy subjects, but not in PD patients. These findings suggest that the right extrastriate body area plays a compensatory role in PD by supporting a function that is no longer performed by the dorsal premotor cortex.
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