Evidence for widespread movement-associated functional MRI changes in patients with PPMS

M. A. Rocca, P. M. Matthews, D. Caputo, A. Ghezzi, A. Falini, G. Scotti, G. Comi, M. Filippi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract-Background: Previous work has suggested that functional reorganization of cortical motor areas might have a role in limiting the motor deficits in patients with MS. Objective: To test whether movement-associated cortical changes in MS might extend beyond the "classic" motor areas and involve sites for multimodal integration. Methods: fMRI was used to assess patterns of brain activations associated with 3 different motor tasks in 30 right-handed patients with primary progressive MS (PPMS) and variable degrees of motor impairment, which were compared with those from 15 right-handed, sex- and age-matched control subjects. Results: Compared with control subjects, patients with MS showed increased activation of brain regions within both traditional motor planning and execution regions (including the supplementary motor area and the cingulate motor area), the insula (a region implicated in sensory processing), and several multimodal cortical regions in the temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes. In patients, the extent of the fMRI activations was strongly correlated with MR lesion burden (r ranging from 0.70 to 0.86, p <0.001). Conclusions: This study shows that movement-associated cortical activation in patients with PPMS is widely distributed and also involves multimodal "nonmotor" cortical networks. It also suggests that adaptive cortical reorganization might be one of the mechanisms limiting the clinical impact of MS in the progressive phases of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)866-872
Number of pages7
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 26 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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