Sensorimotor organization in double cortex syndrome

Jeffrey D. Jirsch, Neda Bernasconi, Flavio Villani, Paolo Vitali, Giuliano Avanzini, Andrea Bernasconi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Subcortical band heterotopia is a diffuse malformation of cortical development related to pharmacologically intractable epilepsy. On magnetic resonance imaging (MRi), patients with "double cortex" syndrome (DCS) present with a band of heterotopic gray matter separated from the overlying cortex by a layer of white matter. The function and connectivity of the subcortical heterotopic band in humans is only partially understood. We studied six DCS patients with bilateral subcortical band heterotopias and six healthy controls using functional MRI (fMRI). In controls, simple motor task elicited contralateral activation of the primary motor cortex (M1) and ipsilateral activation of the cerebellum and left supplementary motor area (SMA). All DCS patients showed task-related contralateral activation of both M1 and the underlying heterotopic band. Ipsilateral motor activation was seen in 4/6 DCS patients. Furthermore, there were additional activations of nonprimary normotopic cortical areas. The sensory stimulus resulted in activation of the contralateral primary sensory cortex (SI) and the thalamus in all healthy subjects. The left sensory task also induced a contralateral activation of the insular cortex. Sensory activation of the contralateral SI was seen in all DCS patients and secondary somatosensory areas in 5/6. The heterotopic band beneath SI became activated in 3/6 DCS patients. Activations were also seen in subcortical structures for both paradigms. In DCS, motor and sensory tasks induce an activation of the subcortical heterotopic band. The recruitment of bilateral primary areas and higher-order association normotopic cortices indicates the need for a widespread network to perform simple tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-543
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


  • Epilepsy
  • Functional MRI
  • Heterotopia
  • Malformations of cortical development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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