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BACKGROUND: Resting brain activity can be modulated by motor tasks to adapt to function. In multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, altered resting-state functional connectivity (RS-FC) has been reported and associated with impaired function and disability; little is known on how RS-FC is modulated by a simple repetitive motor task. OBJECTIVE: To assess changes in RS-FC in early relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) patients associated with repetitive thumb flexions (RTFs). METHODS: A total of 20 right-handed patients with early RRMS and 14 healthy controls underwent a resting functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan, before and after 25 minutes of alternate 30-s blocks of right RTF and rest. Dual-regression analysis of resting fMRI data followed the independent component analysis. Individual spatial maps of coherence between brain areas for 2 networks of interest, sensorimotor and cerebellar, were compared at the group level and correlated with measures of both clinical impairment and brain damage. RESULTS: Significant RTF-induced differences in RS-FC were observed between groups in the cerebellar network because of increased RS-FC in patients but not in controls. In the sensorimotor network, the RS-FC after RTF increased in both groups, with no significant between-group differences. The sensorimotor and the cerebellar RS-FC were intercorrelated only in patients and only after the RTF. The sensorimotor RS-FC increase in patients correlated with structural MRI alterations. CONCLUSIONS: Our study unmasked RS-FC changes of motor-related networks occurring after a simple repetitive motor task in early RRMS patients only. Evaluation of altered RSN dynamics might prove useful for anticipating neuroplasticity and for MRI-informed neurorehabilitation.

Original publication

DOI

10.1177/1545968314558600

Type

Conference paper

Publication Date

07/2015

Volume

29

Pages

557 - 565

Keywords

fmri, functional connectivity, motor task, multiple sclerosis, resting state, Adult, Brain, Brain Mapping, Diffusion Tensor Imaging, Female, Gray Matter, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Motor Activity, Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting, Neural Pathways, Regression Analysis, Rest