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Structural and functional hyperconnectivity within the sensorimotor system in xenomelia


Hänggi, Jürgen; Vitacco, Deborah A; Hilti, Leonie M; Luechinger, Roger; Kraemer, Bernd; Brugger, Peter (2017). Structural and functional hyperconnectivity within the sensorimotor system in xenomelia. Brain and Behavior, 7(3):e00657.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION Xenomelia is a rare condition characterized by the persistent and compulsive desire for the amputation of one or more physically healthy limbs. We highlight the neurological underpinnings of xenomelia by assessing structural and functional connectivity by means of whole-brain connectome and network analyses of regions previously implicated in empirical research in this condition. METHODS We compared structural and functional connectivity between 13 xenomelic men with matched controls using diffusion tensor imaging combined with fiber tractography and resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Altered connectivity in xenomelia within the sensorimotor system has been predicted. RESULTS We found subnetworks showing structural and functional hyperconnectivity in xenomelia compared with controls. These subnetworks were lateralized to the right hemisphere and mainly comprised by nodes belonging to the sensorimotor system. In the connectome analyses, the paracentral lobule, supplementary motor area, postcentral gyrus, basal ganglia, and the cerebellum were hyperconnected to each other, whereas in the xenomelia-specific network analyses, hyperconnected nodes have been found in the superior parietal lobule, primary and secondary somatosensory cortex, premotor cortex, basal ganglia, thalamus, and insula. CONCLUSIONS Our study provides empirical evidence of structural and functional hyperconnectivity within the sensorimotor system including those regions that are core for the reconstruction of a coherent body image. Aberrant connectivity is a common response to focal neurological damage. As exemplified here, it may affect different brain regions differentially. Due to the small sample size, our findings must be interpreted cautiously and future studies are needed to elucidate potential associations between hyperconnectivity and limb disownership reported in xenomelia.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION Xenomelia is a rare condition characterized by the persistent and compulsive desire for the amputation of one or more physically healthy limbs. We highlight the neurological underpinnings of xenomelia by assessing structural and functional connectivity by means of whole-brain connectome and network analyses of regions previously implicated in empirical research in this condition. METHODS We compared structural and functional connectivity between 13 xenomelic men with matched controls using diffusion tensor imaging combined with fiber tractography and resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Altered connectivity in xenomelia within the sensorimotor system has been predicted. RESULTS We found subnetworks showing structural and functional hyperconnectivity in xenomelia compared with controls. These subnetworks were lateralized to the right hemisphere and mainly comprised by nodes belonging to the sensorimotor system. In the connectome analyses, the paracentral lobule, supplementary motor area, postcentral gyrus, basal ganglia, and the cerebellum were hyperconnected to each other, whereas in the xenomelia-specific network analyses, hyperconnected nodes have been found in the superior parietal lobule, primary and secondary somatosensory cortex, premotor cortex, basal ganglia, thalamus, and insula. CONCLUSIONS Our study provides empirical evidence of structural and functional hyperconnectivity within the sensorimotor system including those regions that are core for the reconstruction of a coherent body image. Aberrant connectivity is a common response to focal neurological damage. As exemplified here, it may affect different brain regions differentially. Due to the small sample size, our findings must be interpreted cautiously and future studies are needed to elucidate potential associations between hyperconnectivity and limb disownership reported in xenomelia.

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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
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Date:March 2017
Deposited On:08 Feb 2018 14:39
Last Modified:19 Aug 2018 11:01
Publisher:Wiley Open Access
ISSN:2162-3279
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/brb3.657
PubMed ID:28293484
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID320030_127480
  • : Project TitleNegative phantom limbs? A neurological account of the desire for healthy limb amputation.

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