Cortical plasticity in patients with Parkinson's disease a window for therapeutic non-invasive neuromodulation.

Angelo Quartarone, Vincenzo Rizzo, Carmen Terranova, Daniele Bruschetta, Demetrio Milardi, Paolo Girlanda, Maria Felice Ghilardi


Several evidences in animal models have consistently an alteration of cortico-striatal plasticity, which is related to the degeneration of the substantia nigra. An alteration of plasticity have also been reported in humans by recording evoked field potentials in the substantia nigra pars reticulata of PD patients undergoing subthalamic nucleus (STN) stimulation where high-frequency (HF) in the OFF state did not induce a lasting change in field potential amplitude in the substantia nigra. In addition protocols of non-invasive brain stimulation, such as paired associative stimulation (PAS) and theta-burst stimulation (TBS), can be used to investigate cortical plasticity of the human primary motor cortex. Despite data reported in literature are apparently controversial with some studies showing a reduced or increased or even normal LTP and LTD like plasticity, recent evidences suggest the hypothesis that these different pat- terns of cortical plasticity likely depend on the stage of the disease and on the concomitant administration of L-DOPA. The current review will provide an up-to-date of these issues on cortical plasticity in PD discussing the clinical implications in rehabilitation. In addition in the last section we will review the state of art of non invasive neuro- modulation as adjuvant treatment in the advanced stage of the disease.

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