PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles

Neurological Disorders - Neuroscience - Pharmacology

Levodopa Effects on Hand and Speech Movements in Patients with Parkinson’s Disease: A fMRI Study
Published: Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Author: Audrey Maillet et al.

by Audrey Maillet, Alexandre Krainik, Bettina Debû, Irène Troprès, Christelle Lagrange, Stéphane Thobois, Pierre Pollak, Serge Pinto

Levodopa (L-dopa) effects on the cardinal and axial symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) differ greatly, leading to therapeutic challenges for managing the disabilities in this patient’s population. In this context, we studied the cerebral networks associated with the production of a unilateral hand movement, speech production, and a task combining both tasks in 12 individuals with PD, both off and on levodopa (L-dopa). Unilateral hand movements in the off medication state elicited brain activations in motor regions (primary motor cortex, supplementary motor area, premotor cortex, cerebellum), as well as additional areas (anterior cingulate, putamen, associative parietal areas); following L-dopa administration, the brain activation profile was globally reduced, highlighting activations in the parietal and posterior cingulate cortices. For the speech production task, brain activation patterns were similar with and without medication, including the orofacial primary motor cortex (M1), the primary somatosensory cortex and the cerebellar hemispheres bilaterally, as well as the left- premotor, anterior cingulate and supramarginal cortices. For the combined task off L-dopa, the cerebral activation profile was restricted to the right cerebellum (hand movement), reflecting the difficulty in performing two movements simultaneously in PD. Under L-dopa, the brain activation profile of the combined task involved a larger pattern, including additional fronto-parietal activations, without reaching the sum of the areas activated during the simple hand and speech tasks separately. Our results question both the role of the basal ganglia system in speech production and the modulation of task-dependent cerebral networks by dopaminergic treatment.