Recovery of functional connectivity of the sensorimotor network after surgery for diffuse low-grade gliomas involving the supplementary motor area

J Neurosurg. 2017 Apr;126(4):1181-1190. doi: 10.3171/2016.4.JNS152484. Epub 2016 Jun 17.


OBJECTIVE The supplementary motor area (SMA) syndrome is a well-studied lesional model of brain plasticity involving the sensorimotor network. Patients with diffuse low-grade gliomas in the SMA may exhibit this syndrome after resective surgery. They experience a temporary loss of motor function, which completely resolves within 3 months. The authors used functional MRI (fMRI) resting state analysis of the sensorimotor network to investigate large-scale brain plasticity between the immediate postoperative period and 3 months' follow-up. METHODS Resting state fMRI was performed preoperatively, during the immediate postoperative period, and 3 months postoperatively in 6 patients with diffuse low-grade gliomas who underwent partial surgical excision of the SMA. Correlation analysis within the sensorimotor network was carried out on those 3 time points to study modifications of its functional connectivity. RESULTS The results showed a large-scale reorganization of the sensorimotor network. Interhemispheric connectivity was decreased in the postoperative period, and increased again during the recovery process. Connectivity between the lesion side motor area and the contralateral SMA rose to higher values than in the preoperative period. Intrahemispheric connectivity was decreased during the immediate postoperative period and had returned to preoperative values at 3 months after surgery. CONCLUSIONS These results confirm the findings reported in the existing literature on the plasticity of the SMA, showing large-scale modifications of the sensorimotor network, at both inter- and intrahemispheric levels. They suggest that interhemispheric connectivity might be a correlate of SMA syndrome recovery.

Keywords: BOLD = blood-oxygen-level dependent; DLGG = diffuse low-grade glioma; GRE-EPI = gradient echo–echo planar imaging; MNI = Montreal Neurological Institute; MP-RAGE = magnetization-prepared, rapid-acquisition gradient echo; SMA = supplementary motor area; brain mapping; fMRI = functional MRI; functional neuroimaging; glioma; magnetic resonance imaging; neuronal plasticity; oncology; paralysis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glioma / diagnostic imaging
  • Glioma / physiopathology*
  • Glioma / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Motor Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Motor Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Motor Cortex / surgery
  • Neural Pathways / diagnostic imaging
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology
  • Neural Pathways / surgery
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Rest