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Jennifer Gaubatz, Leon Ernst, Conrad C Prillwitz, Bastian David, Guido Lüchters, Johannes Schramm, Bernd Weber, Rainer Surges, Elke Hattingen, Gottfried Schlaug, Christian E Elger, and Theodor Rüber (2020)

Pyramidal tract and alternate motor fibers complementarily mediate motor compensation in patients after hemispherotomy

Scientific Reports, 10(1).

Motor function after hemispheric lesions has been associated with the structural integrity of either the pyramidal tract (PT) or alternate motor fibers (aMF). In this study, we aimed to differentially characterize the roles of PT and aMF in motor compensation by relating diffusion-tensor-imaging-derived parameters of white matter microstructure to measures of proximal and distal motor function in patients after hemispherotomy. Twenty-five patients (13 women; mean age: 21.1 years) after hemispherotomy (at mean age: 12.4 years) underwent Diffusion Tensor Imaging and evaluation of motor function using the Fugl-Meyer Assessment and the index finger tapping test. Regression analyses revealed that fractional anisotropy of the PT explained (p = 0.050) distal motor function including finger tapping rate (p = 0.027), whereas fractional anisotropy of aMF originating in the contralesional cortex and crossing to the ipsilesional hemisphere in the pons explained proximal motor function (p = 0.001). Age at surgery was found to be the only clinical variable to explain motor function (p < 0.001). Our results are indicative of complementary roles of the PT and of aMF in motor compensation of hemispherotomy mediating distal and proximal motor compensation of the upper limb, respectively.

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