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Hum Brain Mapp. 2015 May;36(5):1878-91. doi: 10.1002/hbm.22743. Epub 2015 Jan 19.

Lateralization of brain activity pattern during unilateral movement in Parkinson's disease.

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Department of Neurobiology, Key Laboratory on Neurodegenerative Disorders of Ministry of Education, Beijing Institute of Geriatrics, Xuanwu Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China; Beijing Key Laboratory on Parkinson's Disease, Parkinson Disease Center of Beijing Institute for Brain Disorders, Beijing, China.


We investigated the lateralization of brain activity pattern during performance of unilateral movement in drug-naïve Parkinson's disease (PD) patients with only right hemiparkinsonian symptoms. Functional MRI was obtained when the subjects performed strictly unilateral right hand movement. A laterality index was calculated to examine the lateralization. Patients had decreased activity in the left putamen and left supplementary motor area, but had increased activity in the right primary motor cortex, right premotor cortex, left postcentral gyrus, and bilateral cerebellum. The laterality index was significantly decreased in PD patients compared with controls (0.41 ± 0.14 vs. 0.84 ± 0.09). The connectivity from the left putamen to cortical motor regions and cerebellum was decreased, while the interactions between the cortical motor regions, cerebellum, and right putamen were increased. Our study demonstrates that in early PD, the lateralization of brain activity during unilateral movement is significantly reduced. The dysfunction of the striatum-cortical circuit, decreased transcallosal inhibition, and compensatory efforts from cortical motor regions, cerebellum, and the less affected striatum are likely reasons contributing to the reduced motor lateralization. The disruption of the lateralized brain activity pattern might be a reason underlying some motor deficits in PD, like mirror movements or impaired bilateral motor coordination.


Parkinson's disease; basal ganglia circuits; compensation; lateralization of brain activity; transcallosal inhibition

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