Proprioceptive sensory function in Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease: evidence from proprioception-related EEG potentials

Exp Brain Res. 2003 Feb;148(3):308-19. doi: 10.1007/s00221-002-1291-6. Epub 2002 Nov 30.


In both Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease, proprioceptive sensory deficits have been suggested to contribute to the motor manifestations of the disease. Here, proprioceptive sensory function was investigated in Parkinson's disease patients, Huntington's disease patients, and healthy control subjects (each group n=8), using proprioception-related evoked potentials. Proprioception-related potentials were elicited by passive index finger movements and measured with high-density EEG. Conventional median nerve somatosensory evoked potentials (mnSEPs) were recorded in the same session. Analysis included amplitude and latency measures from selected scalp electrodes and dipole source reconstruction. We found a proprioception-related N90 component of normal latency in both Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease. The source strength of the underlying cortical generator was normal in Parkinson's disease, but marginally reduced in Huntington's disease. Using the source location of the N20-P20 component of the mnSEP as a landmark for postcentral area 3b, the N90 was localized to the precentral motor cortex. At a latency around 170-180 ms proprioception-related potentials were explained by bilateral sensory cortex activation with an altered distribution in Parkinson's disease and a reduction of ipsilateral activation in Huntington's disease. Together, the results show largely normal early proprioception-related potentials, but changes in the cortical processing of kinaesthetic signals at longer latencies in both diseases.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Mapping
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory / physiology
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Median Nerve / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Proprioception / physiology*
  • Scalp / physiopathology