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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 351680, 5 pages
Clinical Study

Preserved Transcallosal Inhibition to Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Nondemented Elderly Patients with Leukoaraiosis

1“G. F. Ingrassia” Department, Section of Neurosciences, University of Catania, 78 Via Santa Sofia, 95123 Catania, Italy
2Department of Neurology I.C., Oasi Institute (IRCCS), 73 Via Conte Ruggiero, 94018 Troina , Italy
3Department of Electrical, Electronics and Informatics Engineering, University of Catania, 6 Viale Andrea Doria, 95125 Catania, Italy
4Unit of Neurology, Morgagni-Pierantoni Hospital, 34 Via Carlo Forlanini, 47121 Forlì, Italy
5Department of Chemistry, University of Catania, 6 Viale Andrea Doria, 95125 Catania, Italy

Received 18 April 2013; Revised 24 June 2013; Accepted 14 July 2013

Academic Editor: Maurizio Gallucci

Copyright © 2013 Giuseppe Lanza et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Structural corpus callosum (CC) changes in patients with leukoaraiosis (LA) are significantly associated with cognitive and motor impairment. The aim of this study is to investigate the transcallosal fibers functioning by means of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in elderly patients with LA. The resting motor threshold (rMT), the motor-evoked potentials (MEPs), and the controlateral (cSP) and ipsilateral silent periods (iSP) were determined using single-pulse TMS in 15 patients and 15 age-matched controls. The neuropsychological profile and the vascular burden at brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were concomitantly explored. Patients reported abnormal scores at tests evaluating executive control functions. No significant difference was found in TMS measures of intra- and intercortical excitability. No CC lesion was evident at MRI. Transcallosal inhibitory mechanisms to TMS seem to be spared in LA patients, a finding which is in line with neuroimaging features and suggests a functional integrity of the CC despite the ischemic interruption of corticosubcortical loops implicated in cognition and behavior. The observed neurophysiological finding differs from that reported in degenerative dementia, even in the preclinical or early stage. In our group of patients, the pure extent of LA is more related to impairment of frontal lobe abilities rather than functional callosal changes.