Breakdown of the affective-cognitive network in functional dystonia

Elisa Canu, Federica Agosta, Aleksandra Tomic, Elisabetta Sarasso, Igor Petrovic, Noemi Piramide, Marina Svetel, Alberto Inuggi, Natasa D. Miskovic, Vladimir S. Kostic, Massimo Filippi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous studies suggested that brain regions subtending affective-cognitive processes can be implicated in the pathophysiology of functional dystonia (FD). In this study, the role of the affective-cognitive network was explored in two phenotypes of FD: fixed (FixFD) and mobile dystonia (MobFD). We hypothesized that each of these phenotypes would show peculiar functional connectivity (FC) alterations in line with their divergent disease clinical expressions. Resting state fMRI (RS-fMRI) was obtained in 40 FD patients (12 FixFD; 28 MobFD) and 43 controls (14 young FixFD-age-matched [yHC]; 29 old MobFD-age-matched [oHC]). FC of brain regions of interest, known to be involved in affective-cognitive processes, and independent component analysis of RS-fMRI data to explore brain networks were employed. Compared to HC, all FD patients showed reduced FC between the majority of affective-cognitive seeds of interest and the fronto-subcortical and limbic circuits; enhanced FC between the right affective-cognitive part of the cerebellum and the bilateral associative parietal cortex; enhanced FC of the bilateral amygdala with the subcortical and posterior cortical brain regions; and altered FC between the left medial dorsal nucleus and the sensorimotor and associative brain regions (enhanced in MobFD and reduced in FixFD). Compared with yHC and MobFD patients, FixFD patients had an extensive pattern of reduced FC within the cerebellar network, and between the majority of affective-cognitive seeds of interest and the sensorimotor and high-order function (“cognitive”) areas with a unique involvement of dorsal anterior cingulate cortex connectivity. Brain FC within the affective-cognitive network is altered in FD and presented specific features associated with each FD phenotype, suggesting an interaction between brain connectivity and clinical expression of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3059-3076
Number of pages18
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2020


  • affective-cognitive network
  • brain functional connectivity
  • fMRI
  • functional dystonia
  • resting state fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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