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Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging of the subthalamic microlesion and stimulation effects in Parkinson's disease: Indications of a principal role of the brainstem

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Holiga,  Stefan
Methods and Development Unit Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases (LIFE), University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Mueller,  Karsten
Methods and Development Unit Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Möller,  Harald E.
Methods and Development Unit Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Schroeter,  Matthias L.
Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases (LIFE), University of Leipzig, Germany;
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Holiga, S., Mueller, K., Möller, H. E., Urgosik, D., Ruzicka, E., Schroeter, M. L., et al. (2015). Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging of the subthalamic microlesion and stimulation effects in Parkinson's disease: Indications of a principal role of the brainstem. NeuroImage: Clinical, 9, 264-274. doi:10.1016/j.nicl.2015.08.008.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-41D2-2
Abstract
During implantation of deep-brain stimulation (DBS) electrodes in the target structure, neurosurgeons and neurologists commonly observe a “microlesion effect” (MLE), which occurs well before initiating subthalamic DBS. This phenomenon typically leads to a transitory improvement of motor symptoms of patients suffering from Parkinson's disease (PD). Mechanisms behind MLE remain poorly understood. In this work, we exploited the notion of ranking to assess spontaneous brain activity in PD patients examined by resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging in response to penetration of DBS electrodes in the subthalamic nucleus. In particular, we employed a hypothesis-free method, eigenvector centrality (EC), to reveal motor-communication-hubs of the highest rank and their reorganization following the surgery; providing a unique opportunity to evaluate the direct impact of disrupting the PD motor circuitry in vivo without prior assumptions. Penetration of electrodes was associated with increased EC of functional connectivity in the brainstem. Changes in connectivity were quantitatively related to motor improvement, which further emphasizes the clinical importance of the functional integrity of the brainstem. Surprisingly, MLE and DBS were associated with anatomically different EC maps despite their similar clinical benefit on motor functions. The DBS solely caused an increase in connectivity of the left premotor region suggesting separate pathophysiological mechanisms of both interventions. While the DBS acts at the cortical level suggesting compensatory activation of less affected motor regions, the MLE affects more fundamental circuitry as the dysfunctional brainstem predominates in the beginning of PD. These findings invigorate the overlooked brainstem perspective in the understanding of PD and support the current trend towards its early diagnosis.