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Journal Article

General and selective brain connectivity alterations in essential tremor: A resting state fMRI study


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

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Mueller, K., Jech, R., Hoskovcová, M., Ulmanová, O., Urgošík, D., Vymazal, J., et al. (2017). General and selective brain connectivity alterations in essential tremor: A resting state fMRI study. NeuroImage: Clinical, 16, 468-476. doi:10.1016/j.nicl.2017.06.004.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-E7C5-8
Although essential tremor is the most common movement disorder, there is little knowledge about the pathophysiological mechanisms of this disease. Therefore, we explored brain connectivity based on slow spontaneous fluctuations of blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) signal in patients with essential tremor (ET). A cohort of 19 ET patients and 23 healthy individuals were scanned in resting condition using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). General connectivity was assessed by eigenvector centrality (EC) mapping. Selective connectivity was analyzed by correlations of the BOLD signal between the preselected seed regions and all the other brain areas. These measures were then correlated with the tremor severity evaluated by the Fahn-Tolosa-Marin Tremor Rating Scale (FTMTS). Compared to healthy subjects, ET patients were found to have lower EC in the cerebellar hemispheres and higher EC in the anterior cingulate and in the primary motor cortices bilaterally. In patients, the FTMTS score correlated positively with the EC in the putamen. In addition, the FTMTS score correlated positively with selective connectivity between the thalamus and other structures (putamen, pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA), parietal cortex), and between the pre-SMA and the putamen. We observed a selective coupling between a number of areas in the sensorimotor network including the basal ganglia and the ventral intermediate nucleus of thalamus, which is widely used as neurosurgical target for tremor treatment. Finally, ET was marked by suppression of general connectivity in the cerebellum, which is in agreement with the concept of ET as a disorder with cerebellar damage.