Lissek, Silke and Wilimzig, Claudia and Stude, Philipp and Pleger, Burkhard and Kalisch, Tobias and Maier, Christoph and Peters, Sören A. and Nicolas, Volkmar and Tegenthoff, Martin and Dinse, Hubert R. (2009) Immobilization Impairs Tactile Perception and Shrinks Somatosensory Cortical Maps. Current Biology, 19 (10). pp. 837-842. ISSN 0960-9822 http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20090908-081934432
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Use is a major factor driving plasticity of cortical processing and cortical maps. As demonstrated of blind Braille readers and musicians, long-lasting and exceptional usage of the fingers results in the development of outstanding sensorimotor skills and in expansions of the cortical finger representations. However, how periods of disuse affect cortical representations and perception in humans remains elusive. Here, we report that a few weeks of hand and arm immobilization by cast wearing significantly reduced hand use and impaired tactile acuity, associated with reduced activation of the respective finger representations in the somatosensory cortex (SI), measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging. Hemodynamic responses in the SI correlated positively with hand-use frequency and negatively with discrimination thresholds, indicating that reduced activation was most prominent in subjects with severe perceptual impairment. We found, strikingly, compensatory effects on the contralateral, healthy hand consisting of improved perceptual performance compared to healthy controls. Two to three weeks after cast removal, perceptual and cortical changes recovered, whereas tactile acuity on the healthy side remained superior to that on the formerly immobilized side. These findings suggest that brief periods of reduced use of a limb have overt consequences and thus constitute a significant driving force of brain organization equivalent to enhanced use.
|Additional Information:||© 2009 Elsevier Ltd. Received: January 21, 2009. Revised: March 3, 2009. Accepted: March 18, 2009. Published online: April 23, 2009. This research was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Di 334/10-3 to H.D. and M.T., Di 334/10-4 to H.D., and Te 315/2-1), the Bundesministerium fur Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) Network "Neuropathic Pain" (Nr. 01 EM 05 02 to C.M. and M.T.), and grants from the German Richard Sackler Foundation (to C.M.).|
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|Deposited By:||Tony Diaz|
|Deposited On:||25 Sep 2009 22:42|
|Last Modified:||26 Dec 2012 11:19|
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