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Representation of Multiple Body Parts in the Missing-Hand Territory of Congenital One-Handers


Hahamy, Avital; Macdonald, Scott N; van den Heiligenberg, Fiona; Kieliba, Paullina; Emir, Uzay; Malach, Rafael; Johansen-Berg, Heidi; Brugger, Peter; Culham, Jody C; Makin, Tamar R (2017). Representation of Multiple Body Parts in the Missing-Hand Territory of Congenital One-Handers. Current Biology, 27(9):1350-1355.

Abstract

Individuals born without one hand (congenital one-handers) provide a unique model for understanding the relationship between focal reorganization in the sensorimotor cortex and everyday behavior. We previously reported that the missing hand's territory of one-handers becomes utilized by its cortical neighbor (residual arm representation), depending on residual arm usage in daily life to substitute for the missing hand's function [1, 2]. However, the repertoire of compensatory behaviors may involve utilization of other body parts that do not cortically neighbor the hand territory. Accordingly, the pattern of brain reorganization may be more extensive [3]. Here we studied unconstrained compensatory strategies under ecological conditions in one-handers, as well as changes in activation, connectivity, and neurochemical profile in their missing hand's cortical territory. We found that compensatory behaviors in one-handers involved multiple body parts (residual arm, lips, and feet). This diversified compensatory profile was associated with large-scale cortical reorganization, regardless of cortical proximity to the hand territory. Representations of those body parts used to substitute hand function all mapped onto the cortical territory of the missing hand, as evidenced by task-based and resting-state fMRI. The missing-hand territory also exhibited reduced GABA levels, suggesting a reduction in connectional selectivity to enable the expression of diverse cortical inputs. Because the same body parts used for compensatory purposes are those showing increased representation in the missing hand's territory, we suggest that the typical hand territory may not necessarily represent the hand per se, but rather any other body part that shares the functionality of the missing hand [4].

Abstract

Individuals born without one hand (congenital one-handers) provide a unique model for understanding the relationship between focal reorganization in the sensorimotor cortex and everyday behavior. We previously reported that the missing hand's territory of one-handers becomes utilized by its cortical neighbor (residual arm representation), depending on residual arm usage in daily life to substitute for the missing hand's function [1, 2]. However, the repertoire of compensatory behaviors may involve utilization of other body parts that do not cortically neighbor the hand territory. Accordingly, the pattern of brain reorganization may be more extensive [3]. Here we studied unconstrained compensatory strategies under ecological conditions in one-handers, as well as changes in activation, connectivity, and neurochemical profile in their missing hand's cortical territory. We found that compensatory behaviors in one-handers involved multiple body parts (residual arm, lips, and feet). This diversified compensatory profile was associated with large-scale cortical reorganization, regardless of cortical proximity to the hand territory. Representations of those body parts used to substitute hand function all mapped onto the cortical territory of the missing hand, as evidenced by task-based and resting-state fMRI. The missing-hand territory also exhibited reduced GABA levels, suggesting a reduction in connectional selectivity to enable the expression of diverse cortical inputs. Because the same body parts used for compensatory purposes are those showing increased representation in the missing hand's territory, we suggest that the typical hand territory may not necessarily represent the hand per se, but rather any other body part that shares the functionality of the missing hand [4].

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neurology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Language:English
Date:8 May 2017
Deposited On:08 Feb 2018 14:30
Last Modified:19 Aug 2018 11:01
Publisher:Cell Press (Elsevier)
ISSN:0960-9822
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2017.03.053
PubMed ID:28434861

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