FMRI study of motor cortex activity modulation in early Parkinson's disease

Marta Moraschi, Giovanni Giulietti, Federico Giove, Manuela Guardati, Girolamo Garreffa, Nicola Modugno, Claudio Colonnese, Bruno Maraviglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parkinson's disease is a neurological disorder associated with the disfunction of dopaminergic pathways of the basal ganglia, mainly resulting in a progressive alteration in the execution of voluntary movements. We present a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study on cortical activations during simple motor task performance, in six early-stage hemiparkinsonian patients and seven healthy volunteers. We acquired data in three sessions, during which subjects performed the task with right or left hand, or bimanually. We observed consistent bilateral activations in cingulate cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of Parkinsonian subjects during the execution of the task with the affected hand. In addition, patients showed both larger and stronger activations in motor cortex of the affected hemisphere with respect to the healthy hemisphere. Compared with the control group, patients showed a hyperactivation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of the affected hemisphere. We concluded that a presymptomatic reorganization of the motor system is likely to occur in Parkinson's disease at earlier stages than previously hypothesized. Moreover, our results support fMRI as a sensitive technique for revealing the initial involvement of motor cortex areas at the debut of this degenerative disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1152-1158
Number of pages7
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • Early PD
  • Finger tapping
  • FMRI
  • Hyperactivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Biomedical Engineering


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