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Brain Res. 2012 Jun 29;1463:75-84. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2012.04.052. Epub 2012 May 7.

Neuronal-glial alterations in non-primary motor areas in chronic subcortical stroke.

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Hoglund Brain Imaging Center, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City 66160, USA.


Whether functional changes of the non-primary motor areas, e.g., dorsal premotor (PMd) and supplementary motor (SMA) areas, after stroke, reflect reorganization phenomena or recruitment of a pre-existing motor network remains to be clarified. We hypothesized that cellular changes in these areas would be consistent with their involvement in post-stroke reorganization. Specifically, we expected that neuronal and glial compartments would be altered in radiologically normal-appearing, i.e., spared, PMd and SMA in patients with arm paresis. Twenty survivors of a single ischemic subcortical stroke and 16 age-matched healthy controls were included. At more than six months after stroke, metabolites related to neuronal and glial compartments: N-acetylaspartate, myo-inositol, and glutamate/glutamine, were quantified by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in PMd and SMA in both injured (ipsilesional) and un-injured (contralesional) hemispheres. Correlations between metabolites were also calculated. Finally, relationships between metabolite concentrations and arm motor impairment (total and proximal Fugl-Meyer Upper Extremity, FMUE, scores) were analyzed. Compared to controls, stroke survivors showed significantly higher ipsilesional PMd myo-inositol and lower SMA N-acetylaspartate. Significantly lower metabolite correlations were found between ipsilesional and contralesional SMA. Ipsilesional N-acetylaspartate was significantly related to proximal FMUE scores. This study provides evidence of abnormalities in metabolites, specific to neuronal and glial compartments, across spared non-primary motor areas. Ipsilesional alterations were related to proximal arm motor impairment. Our results suggest the involvement of these areas in post-stroke reorganization.

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