Performance of timed motor sequences relies on the cerebellum and basal ganglia, which integrate proprioceptive information during the motor task and set internal timing mechanisms. Accordingly, these structures are also involved in other temporal processes, such as the discrimination of the different afferent information in the domain of time. In the present study we tested temporal processing of proprioceptive and tactile stimuli in 20 patients with neurodegenerative cerebellar ataxia and 20 age- and sex-matched healthy subjects. Tactile temporal discrimination threshold was defined as the value at which subjects recognized the two stimuli as asynchronous. Temporal discrimination movement threshold of the first dorsal interosseous and flexor carpi radialis was defined as the shortest interval between two paired electrical stimuli in which the subjects blindfolded perceived two separate index finger abductions and wrist flexions. Both tactile and movement temporal discrimination thresholds were higher in patients with cerebellar ataxia. No correlation was found with disease duration and severity. Our study demonstrates that temporal processing of tactile and proprioceptive stimuli is impaired in patients with cerebellar neurodegeneration and highlights the involvement of cerebellum in temporal processing of somatosensory stimuli of different type.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)