Modified activation of somatosensory cortical network in patients with right-hemisphere stroke

Brain. 1999 Oct:122 ( Pt 10):1889-99. doi: 10.1093/brain/122.10.1889.


To study the effects of parietal lesions on activation of the human somatosensory cortical network, we measured somatosensory evoked fields to electric median nerve stimuli, using a whole-scalp 122-channel neuromagnetometer, from six patients with cortical right-hemisphere stroke and from seven healthy control subjects. In the control subjects, unilateral stimuli elicited responses which were satisfactorily accounted for by modelled sources in the contralateral primary (SI) and bilateral secondary (SII) somatosensory cortices. In all patients, stimulation of the right median nerve also activated the SI and SII cortices of the healthy left hemisphere. However, the activation pattern was altered, suggesting diminished interhemispheric inhibition via callosal connections after right-sided stroke. Responses to left median nerve stimuli showed large interindividual variability due to the different extents of the lesions. The strength of the 20-ms response, originating in the SI cortex, roughly reflected the severity of the tactile impairment. Right SII responses were absent in patients with abnormal right SI responses, whereas the left SII was active in all patients, regardless of the responsiveness of the right SI and/or SII. Our results suggest that the human SI and SII cortices may be sequentially activated within one hemisphere, whereas SII ipsilateral to the stimulation may receive direct input from the periphery, at least when normal input from SI is interrupted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Ischemia / pathology
  • Brain Ischemia / physiopathology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Corpus Callosum / physiopathology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Male
  • Median Nerve / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Net / physiopathology*
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Stroke / pathology
  • Stroke / physiopathology*