Breakdown of the affective-cognitive network in functional dystonia

Hum Brain Mapp. 2020 Aug 1;41(11):3059-3076. doi: 10.1002/hbm.24997. Epub 2020 Apr 3.


Previous studies suggested that brain regions subtending affective-cognitive processes can be implicated in the pathophysiology of functional dystonia (FD). In this study, the role of the affective-cognitive network was explored in two phenotypes of FD: fixed (FixFD) and mobile dystonia (MobFD). We hypothesized that each of these phenotypes would show peculiar functional connectivity (FC) alterations in line with their divergent disease clinical expressions. Resting state fMRI (RS-fMRI) was obtained in 40 FD patients (12 FixFD; 28 MobFD) and 43 controls (14 young FixFD-age-matched [yHC]; 29 old MobFD-age-matched [oHC]). FC of brain regions of interest, known to be involved in affective-cognitive processes, and independent component analysis of RS-fMRI data to explore brain networks were employed. Compared to HC, all FD patients showed reduced FC between the majority of affective-cognitive seeds of interest and the fronto-subcortical and limbic circuits; enhanced FC between the right affective-cognitive part of the cerebellum and the bilateral associative parietal cortex; enhanced FC of the bilateral amygdala with the subcortical and posterior cortical brain regions; and altered FC between the left medial dorsal nucleus and the sensorimotor and associative brain regions (enhanced in MobFD and reduced in FixFD). Compared with yHC and MobFD patients, FixFD patients had an extensive pattern of reduced FC within the cerebellar network, and between the majority of affective-cognitive seeds of interest and the sensorimotor and high-order function ("cognitive") areas with a unique involvement of dorsal anterior cingulate cortex connectivity. Brain FC within the affective-cognitive network is altered in FD and presented specific features associated with each FD phenotype, suggesting an interaction between brain connectivity and clinical expression of the disease.

Keywords: affective-cognitive network; brain functional connectivity; fMRI; functional dystonia; resting state fMRI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't