Does Measurement of Corticospinal Tract Involvement Add Value to Clinical Behavioral Biomarkers in Predicting Motor Recovery after Stroke?Read the full article
Neural Plasticity is an interdisciplinary journal dedicated to the publication of articles related to all aspects of neural plasticity, with special emphasis on its functional significance as reflected in behavior and in psychopathology.
Chief Editor, Professor Baudry, is currently University Professor at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA. His research focuses on understanding the molecular/cellular mechanisms of learning and memory and neurodegeneration.
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Exploring Cortical Thickness Alteration in Parkinson Disease Patients with Freezing of Gaits
Background: Freezing of gait (FoG) is a disabling gait disorder that commonly occurs in advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease (PD). The neuroanatomical mechanisms underlying FoG in PD are still unclear. The present study aims to explore alterations of structural gray matter (GM) in PD patients with FoG. Method: Twenty-four PD patients with FoG (FoG+), 37 PD patients without FoG (FoG-) and 24 healthy controls (HC) were included. All subjects underwent a standardized MRI protocol. The cortical thickness (CTh), segmentation volume without ventricles (BrainSegVolNotVent) and estimated total intracranial volume (eTIV) were analysed using the FreeSurfer pipeline. Results: CTh differences were found in the right middle temporal gyrus (rMTG) generally. Compared to that in HCs, the CTh of the rMTG in both the FoG+ and FoG- groups was smaller, while no significant difference between the FoG+ and FoG- groups. Correlation analyses demonstrated a negative correlation between the CTh of the rMTG and the UPDRS part II score in PD subjects, and a borderline significant correlation between the score of Freezing of Gait Questionnaire (FoGQ) and rMTG CTh. Additionally, receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC) analysis revealed a cut-off point of CTh =3.08 mm in the rMTG that could be used to differentiate PD patients and HCs (AUC =0.79, P <0.01). There were no differences in the BrainSegVolNotVent or eTIV among the 3 groups. Conclusions: Our findings currently suggest no significant difference between FoG+ and FoG- patients in terms of structural gray matter changes. However, decreased CTh in the rMTG related to semantic control may be used as a biomarker to differentiate PD patients and HCs.
Changes in Hippocampal Plasticity in Depression and Therapeutic Approaches Influencing These Changes
Depression is a common neurological disease that seriously affects human health. There are many hypotheses about the pathogenesis of depression, and the most widely recognized and applied is the monoamine hypothesis. However, no hypothesis can fully explain the pathogenesis of depression. At present, the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurogenesis hypotheses have highlighted the important role of plasticity in depression. The plasticity of neurons and glial cells plays a vital role in the transmission and integration of signals in the central nervous system. Plasticity is the adaptive change in the nervous system in response to changes in external signals. The hippocampus is an important anatomical area associated with depression. Studies have shown that some antidepressants can treat depression by changing the plasticity of the hippocampus. Furthermore, caloric restriction has also been shown to affect antidepressant and hippocampal plasticity changes. In this review, we summarize the latest research, focusing on changes in the plasticity of hippocampal neurons and glial cells in depression and the role of BDNF in the changes in hippocampal plasticity in depression, as well as caloric restriction and mitochondrial plasticity. This review may contribute to the development of antidepressant drugs and elucidating the mechanism of depression.
Cytokine-, Neurotrophin-, and Motor Rehabilitation-Induced Plasticity in Parkinson’s Disease
Neuroinflammation and cytokine-dependent neurotoxicity appear to be major contributors to the neuropathology in Parkinson’s disease (PD). While pharmacological advancements have been a mainstay in the treatment of PD for decades, it is becoming increasingly clear that nonpharmacological approaches including traditional and nontraditional forms of exercise and physical rehabilitation can be critical adjunctive or even primary treatment avenues. Here, we provide an overview of preclinical and clinical research detailing the biological role of proinflammatory molecules in PD and how motor rehabilitation can be used to therapeutically modulate neuroinflammation, restore neural plasticity, and improve motor function in PD.
Hyperexcitability of the Nucleus Accumbens Is Involved in Noise-Induced Hyperacusis
Reduced tolerance to sound stimuli (hyperacusis) is commonly seen in tinnitus patients. Dysfunction of limbic systems, such as the nucleus accumbens (NAc), may be involved in emotional reactions to the sound stimuli in tinnitus patients. To study the functional changes in the NAc in hyperacusis, we have examined the neural activity changes of the NAc using c-Fos staining in an animal model of hyperacusis. The c-Fos staining was also examined in the medial geniculate nucleus (MGN), a central auditory pathway which has neural projections to the NAc. Postnatal rats (14 days) were exposed to loud noise (115 dB SPL, 4 hours for two consecutive days) to induce hyperacusis (). Rats without noise exposure were used as the controls (). After P35, rats in both groups were put in a behavioral training for sound detection. After they were trained to detect sound stimuli, their reaction time to noise bursts centered at 2 kHz (40-110 dB SPL) was measured. Rats in the noise group showed a significantly shorter reaction time than those in the control group to the noise bursts at high intensities, suggesting the noise exposure induced hyperacusis behavior. The c-Fos expressions in the NAc and the MGNs of the noise group were significantly higher than those of the control group. Our results suggested that early-age noise exposure caused hyperactivity in the NAc and the MGNs which may induce the loudness increase in these rats.
Musculoskeletal Pain during the Menopausal Transition: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Musculoskeletal pain (MSP) is one of the most severe complaints in women undergoing menopause. The prevalence of MSP varied when taking the menopausal state and age factor into consideration. This study investigated the prevalence of MSP in perimenopausal women and its association with menopausal state. The MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science, and PubMed databases were searched from inception to July 2020, and 16 studies were retrieved for the current meta-analysis. The primary outcome measure was the MSP Odds Ratio (OR). The estimated overall prevalence of MSP among perimenopausal women was 71% (4144 out of 5836, 95% confidence interval (CI): 64%-78%). Perimenopausal women demonstrated a higher risk for MSP than premenopausal ones (OR: 1.63, 95% CI: 1.35-1.96, , ), but similar to that in postmenopausal ones (OR: 1.07, 95% CI: 0.95–1.20, , ). The postmenopausal women were at a higher risk of moderate/severe MSP than the premenopausal ones (OR: 1.45, 95% CI: 1.21-1.75, , ) or the perimenopausal ones (OR: 1.40, 95% CI: 1.09–1.79, , ). In conclusion, the perimenopause is a state during which women are particularly predisposed to develop MSP. As to moderate to severe degrees of MSP, the odds increase linearly with age, from premenopause to peri- and then to postmenopause.
Baseline Motor Impairment Predicts Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Combined with Physical Therapy-Induced Improvement in Individuals with Chronic Stroke
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can enhance the effect of conventional therapies in post-stroke neurorehabilitation. The ability to predict an individual’s potential for tDCS-induced recovery may permit rehabilitation providers to make rational decisions about who will be a good candidate for tDCS therapy. We investigated the clinical and biological characteristics which might predict tDCS plus physical therapy effects on upper limb motor recovery in chronic stroke patients. A cohort of 80 chronic stroke individuals underwent ten to fifteen sessions of tDCS plus physical therapy. The sensorimotor function of the upper limb was assessed by means of the upper extremity section of the Fugl-Meyer scale (UE-FM), before and after treatment. A backward stepwise regression was used to assess the effect of age, sex, time since stroke, brain lesion side, and basal level of motor function on UE-FM improvement after treatment. Following the intervention, UE-FM significantly improved (), and the magnitude of the change was clinically important (mean 6.2 points, 95% CI: 5.2–7.4). The baseline level of UE-FM was the only significant predictor (, , ) of tDCS response. These findings may help to guide clinical decisions according to the profile of each patient. Future studies should investigate whether stroke severity affects the effectiveness of tDCS combined with physical therapy.