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Cerebellar influence on motor cortex plasticity: behavioral implications for Parkinson's disease

Abstract : Normal motor behavior involves the creation of appropriate activity patterns across motor networks, enabling firing synchrony, synaptic integration, and normal functioning of these networks. Strong topography-specific connections among the basal ganglia, cerebellum, and their projections to overlapping areas in the motor cortices suggest that these networks could influence each other's plastic responses and functions. The defective striatal signaling in Parkinson's disease (PD) could therefore lead to abnormal oscillatory activity and aberrant plasticity at multiple levels within the interlinked motor networks. Normal striatal dopaminergic signaling and cerebellar sensory processing functions influence the scaling and topographic specificity of M1 plasticity. Both these functions are abnormal in PD and appear to contribute to the abnormal M1 plasticity. Defective motor map plasticity and topographic specificity within M1 could lead to incorrect muscle synergies, which could manifest as abnormal or undesired movements, and as abnormal motor learning in PD. We propose that the loss of M1 plasticity in PD reflects a loss of coordination among the basal ganglia, cerebellar, and cortical inputs which translates to an abnormal plasticity of motor maps within M1 and eventually to some of the motor signs of PD.The initial benefits of dopamine replacement therapy on M1 plasticity and motor signs are lost during the progressive course of disease. Levodopa-induced dyskinesias in patients with advanced PD is linked to a loss of M1 sensorimotor plasticity and the attenuation of dyskinesias by cerebellar inhibitory stimulation is associated with restoration of M1 plasticity. Complimen-tary interventions should target reestablishing physiological communication between the striatal and cerebellar circuits, and within striato-cerebellar loop. This may facilitate correct motor synergies and reduce abnormal movements in PD.
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Asha Kishore, Sabine Meunier, Traian Popa. Cerebellar influence on motor cortex plasticity: behavioral implications for Parkinson's disease. Frontiers in Neurology, Frontiers, 2014, 5, pp.68. ⟨10.3389/fneur.2014.00068⟩. ⟨hal-01321302⟩



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