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Volumetric effects of motor cortex injury on recovery of ipsilesional dexterous movements

, : Volumetric effects of motor cortex injury on recovery of ipsilesional dexterous movements. Experimental Neurology 231(1): 56-71

Damage to the motor cortex of one hemisphere has classically been associated with contralateral upper limb paresis, but recent patient studies have identified deficits in both upper limbs. In non-human primates, we tested the hypothesis that the severity of ipsilesional upper limb motor impairment in the early post-injury phase depends on the volume of gray and white matter damage of the motor areas of the frontal lobe. We also postulated that substantial recovery would accompany minimal task practice and that ipsilesional limb recovery would be correlated with recovery of the contralesional limb. Gross (reaching) and fine hand motor functions were assessed for 3-12 months post-injury using two motor tests. Volumes of white and gray matter lesions were assessed using quantitative histology. Early changes in post-lesion motor performance were inversely correlated with white matter lesion volume indicating that larger lesions produced greater decreases in ipsilesional hand movement control. All monkeys showed improvements in ipsilesional hand motor skill during the post-lesion period, with reaching skill improvements being positively correlated with total lesion volume indicating that larger lesions were associated with greater ipsilesional motor skill recovery. We suggest that reduced trans-callosal inhibition from the lesioned hemisphere may play a role in the observed skill improvements. Our findings show that significant ipsilesional hand motor recovery is likely to accompany injury limited to frontal motor areas. In humans, more pronounced ipsilesional motor deficits that invariably develop after stroke may, in part, be a consequence of more extensive subcortical white and gray matter damage.


PMID: 21703261

DOI: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2011.05.015

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