Probing Context-Dependent Modulations of Ipsilateral Premotor-Motor Connectivity in Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis

Elisa Ruiu, Raffaele Dubbioso, Kristoffer Hougaard Madsen, Olivia Svolgaard, Estelle Raffin, Kasper Winther Andersen, Anke Ninija Karabanov*, Hartwig Roman Siebner

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Objective: We employed dual-site TMS to test whether ipsilateral functional premotor-motor connectivity is altered in relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RR-MS) and is related to central fatigue. Methods: Twelve patients with RR-MS and 12 healthy controls performed a visually cued Pinch-NoPinch task with their right hand. During the reaction time (RT) period of Pinch and No-Pinch trials, single-site TMS was applied to the left primary motor cortex (M1) or dual-site TMS was applied to the ipsilateral dorsal premotor cortex (PMd) and to M1. We traced context-dependent changes of corticospinal excitability and premotor–motor connectivity by measuring Motor-Evoked Potentials (MEPs) in the right first dorsal interosseus muscle. Central fatigue was evaluated with the Fatigue Scale for Motor and Cognitive Functions (FSMS). Results: In both groups, single-pulse TMS revealed a consistent increase in mean MEP amplitude during the Reaction Time (RT) period relative to a resting condition. Task-related corticospinal facilitation increased toward the end of the RT period in Pinch trials, while it decreased in No-Pinch trials. Again, this modulation of MEP facilitation by trial type was comparable in patients and controls. Dual-site TMS showed no significant effect of a conditioning PMd pulse on ipsilateral corticospinal excitability during the RT period in either group. However, patients showed a trend toward a relative attenuation in functional PMd-M1 connectivity at the end of the RT period in No-Pinch trials, which correlated positively with the severity of motor fatigue (r = 0.69; p = 0.007). Conclusions: Dynamic regulation of corticospinal excitability and ipsilateral PMd-M1 connectivity is preserved in patients with RR-MS. MS-related fatigue scales positively with an attenuation of premotor-to-motor functional connectivity during cued motor inhibition. Significance: The temporal, context-dependent modulation of ipsilateral premotor-motor connectivity, as revealed by dual-site TMS of ipsilateral PMd and M1, constitutes a promising neurophysiological marker of fatigue in MS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number193
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Volume11
Number of pages10
ISSN1664-2295
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2020

Keywords

  • Dorsal premotor cortex
  • Dual-site TMS
  • Fatigue
  • Movement preparation
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Primary motor cortex

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