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Functional and structural impairment of transcallosal motor fibres in ALS: a study using transcranial magnetic stimulation, diffusion tensor imaging, and diffusion weighted spectroscopy

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-10, 03:51 authored by Annemarie Hübers, Bastian Böckler, Alireza Abaei, Volker Rasche, Dorothée Lulé, Ece Ercan, Nathalie Doorenweerd, Hans-Peter Müller, Jens Dreyhaupt, Thomas Kammer, Albert Christian Ludolph, Itamar RonenItamar Ronen, Jan Kassubek
Imaging studies showed that the structure of the corpus callosum (CC) is affected in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Some clinical studies also suggest that interhemispheric connectivity is altered, since mirror movements seem to occur in ALS. Finally, reduced interhemispheric inhibition (IHI), studied by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), has been reported. It is not known whether there is any association between these findings. Here, we studied the integrity of the CC in ALS on the morphological, the functional, the electrophysiological, and the clinical level. Twenty-seven right-handed ALS patients and 21 healthy right-handed controls were included. Mirror activity (MA) was quantified using surface EMG. Diffusion tensor imaging tractography was used to segment the CC and quantify fractional anisotropy (FA). We studied the diffusivity of the intra-axonal markers N-acetylaspartate+N-acetyl aspartyl glutamate D(tNAA) within the CC. IHI was studied as a marker of CC function using a double-pulse TMS protocol. ALS patients showed significantly decreased FA in the motor segment of the CC (p < 0.01), and IHI was significantly reduced compared to controls (p = 0.01). However, no differences were observed regarding D(tNAA) and MA. The morphological as well as the functional integrity of the CC are altered in ALS. IHI was reduced in ALS, associated with decreased FA in the motor CC. Patients did not exhibit increased MA. Also, no differences within the CC were observed using diffusion-weighted spectroscopy. IHI might serve as a marker of transcallosal pathway disruption in ALS, even before clinical deficits become apparent.


Publication status

  • Published


Brain Imaging and Behavior




Springer Science and Business Media LLC



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Event location

United States

Department affiliated with

  • BSMS Neuroscience Publications

Full text available

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Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

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