Reorganization in congenital hemiparesis acquired at different gestational ages

Ann Neurol. 2004 Dec;56(6):854-63. doi: 10.1002/ana.20297.


It is well established that the reorganizational potential of the developing human brain is superior to that of the adult brain, but whether age-dependent differences exist already in the prenatal and perinatal period is not known. We have studied sensorimotor reorganization in 34 patients with congenital hemiparesis (age range, 5-27 years), using transcranial magnetic stimulation and functional magnetic resonance imaging during simple hand movements. Underlying pathologies were brain malformations (first and second trimester lesions; n = 10), periventricular brain lesions (early third trimester lesions; n = 12), and middle cerebral artery infarctions (late third trimester lesions; n = 12). Of this cohort, eight patients with malformations and all patients with periventricular lesions have been published previously. In all three groups of pathologies, transcranial magnetic stimulation identified patients in whom the paretic hand was controlled via ipsilateral corticospinal projections from the contralesional hemisphere (n = 16). In these patients, the motor dysfunction of the paretic hand correlated significantly with the timing period of the underlying brain lesion. This demonstrates that the efficacy of reorganization with ipsilateral corticospinal tracts indeed decreases during pregnancy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Electromagnetic Fields
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Paresis / physiopathology*
  • Telencephalon / abnormalities*
  • Telencephalon / physiology*