Reorganization of the hand somatosensory cortex following perinatal unilateral brain injury

Neuropediatrics. 2000 Apr;31(2):63-9. doi: 10.1055/s-2000-7475.


Functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to map the hand somatosensory cortices of nine hemiparetic young adult patients with perinatal unilateral brain injury in the sensorimotor area and five normal subjects. Stimulation of the paretic hand by periodic manual squeezing produced activation in the contralateral hemisphere of three patients and in the ipsilateral hemisphere of three other patients. Paretic hand stimulation produced no activation in either hemisphere of the remaining three patients. Therefore, one-third of the patients demonstrated functional "plasticity" of the brain in the form of inter-hemispheric relocation of the hand somatosensory function. The volume and pattern of activation for both hands was altered for those patients that showed evidence of cortical reorganization to the opposite hemisphere. This differs from the hand motor system, which exhibited inter-hemispheric reorganization in a higher proportion of a related group of hemiparetic subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Afferent Pathways / physiopathology
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hand / innervation*
  • Hemiplegia / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology*
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiopathology*