Brain sensorimotor hand area functionality in acute stroke: Insights from magnetoencephalography

Antonio Oliviero, Franca Tecchio, Filippo Zappasodi, Patrizio Pasqualetti, Carlo Salustri, Domenico Lupoi, Matilde Ercolani, Gian Luca Romani, Paolo Maria Rossini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An understanding of the functional readjustments that the brain undergoes during the early days after a stroke would give us a major insight into how and how much neurons are capable to react to an insult. Thirty-two patients affected by an acute monohemispheric ischemic stroke were enrolled in the study. Magnetoencephalography was used to record the somatosensory-evoked fields (SEF) generated in response to median nerve stimulation. Latency, strength, and position of the related early cortical components (M20 and M30) were studied both separately within each hemisphere, and in terms of interhemispheric differences. Interhemispheric cross-correlations among SEF waveshapes in the two hemispheres were also investigated. Overall, except for some source displacement possibly induced by the perilesional edema, results did not demonstrate any unusual neural recruitment. The severity of the clinical picture was found related to the sources' strengths (both as absolute values and as interhemispheric differences), to excessive interhemispheric differences in SEF waveshapes and in the M30 latencies. Signs of an enhanced excitability were present in the affected hemisphere (AH) following a cortical lesion, usually in combination with preserved hand functionality. An enhanced excitability of the unaffected hemisphere (UH) was paired with larger lesions with cortical involvement; signs compatible with an abnormal transcallosal transmission and intracortical function of inhibitory GABAergic interneurons in the AH were found subtending UH enhancement. Spared responsiveness from Brodmann's area (BA) 2 and posterior parietal areas despite an altered response from BA 3b was found in six patients, combined to high hand functionality. Present results in acute phase increase the knowledge of the mechanisms governing brain adaptation/reaction capabilities, for future efforts to establish therapeutic and rehabilitative procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)542-550
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004


  • Acute stroke
  • Hand representation
  • Magnetoencephalography (MEG)
  • Plasticity
  • Sensory cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Brain sensorimotor hand area functionality in acute stroke: Insights from magnetoencephalography'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this