Cerebral differences between dopamine-resistant and dopamine-responsive Parkinson's tremor
Number of pages
SourceBrain, 142, 10, (2019), pp. 3144-3157
Article / Letter to editor
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PI Group Systems Neurology
PI Group Motivational & Cognitive Control
SW OZ DCC CO
PI Group Intention & Action
Subject111 000 Intention & Action; 240 Systems Neurology; Action, intention, and motor control; All institutes and research themes of the Radboud University Medical Center; Radboudumc 3: Disorders of movement DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
Rest tremor in Parkinson's disease is related to cerebral activity in both the basal ganglia and a cerebello-thalamo-cortical circuit. Clinically, there is strong interindividual variation in the therapeutic response of tremor to dopaminergic medication. This observation casts doubt on the idea that Parkinson's tremor has a dopaminergic basis. An interesting alternative explanation is that interindividual differences in the pathophysiology of tremor may underlie this clinical heterogeneity. Previous work showed that dopaminergic medication reduces Parkinson's tremor by inhibiting tremulous activity in the pallidum and thalamus, and this may explain why some tremors are dopamine-responsive. Here we test the hypothesis that dopamine-resistant resting tremor may be explained by increased contributions of non-dopaminergic brain regions, such as the cerebellum. To test this hypothesis, we first performed a levodopa challenge test in 83 tremulous Parkinson’s disease patients, and selected 20 patients with a markedly dopamine-responsive tremor (71% reduction) and 14 patients with a markedly dopamine-resistant tremor (6% reduction). The dopamine response of other core motor symptoms was matched between groups. Next, in all 34 patients, we used combined EMG-functional MRI to quantify tremor-related brain activity during two separate sessions (crossover, double-blind, counterbalanced design): after placebo, or after 200/50 mg dispersible levodopa/benserazide. We compared tremor-related brain activity between groups and medication sessions. Both groups showed tremor amplitude-related brain activity in a cerebello-thalamo-cortical circuit. Dopamine-resistant tremor patients showed increased tremor-related activity in non-dopaminergic areas (cerebellum), whereas the dopamine-responsive group showed increased tremor-related activity in the thalamus and secondary somatosensory cortex (across medication sessions). Levodopa inhibited tremor-related thalamic responses in both groups, but this effect was significantly greater in dopamine-responsive patients. These results suggest that dopamine-resistant tremor may be explained by increased cerebellar and reduced somatosensory influences onto the cerebellar thalamus, making this region less susceptible to the inhibitory effects of dopamine.
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