Cortical dynamics and subcortical signatures of motor-language coupling in Parkinson's disease

Margherita Melloni, Lucas Sedeño, Eugenia Hesse, Indira García-Cordero, Ezequiel Mikulan, Angelo Plastino, Aida Marcotti, José David López, Catalina Bustamante, Francisco Lopera, David Pineda, Adolfo M. García, Facundo Manes, Natalia Trujillo, Agustín Ibáñez

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Impairments of action language have been documented in early stage Parkinson's disease (EPD). The action-sentence compatibility effect (ACE) paradigm has revealed that EPD involves deficits to integrate action-verb processing and ongoing motor actions. Recent studies suggest that an abolished ACE in EPD reflects a cortico-subcortical disruption, and recent neurocognitive models highlight the role of the basal ganglia (BG) in motor-language coupling. Building on such breakthroughs, we report the first exploration of convergent cortical and subcortical signatures of ACE in EPD patients and matched controls. Specifically, we combined cortical recordings of the motor potential, functional connectivity measures, and structural analysis of the BG through voxel-based morphometry. Relative to controls, EPD patients exhibited an impaired ACE, a reduced motor potential, and aberrant frontotemporal connectivity. Furthermore, motor potential abnormalities during the ACE task were predicted by overall BG volume and atrophy. These results corroborate that motor-language coupling is mainly subserved by a cortico-subcortical network including the BG as a key hub. They also evince that action-verb processing may constitute a neurocognitive marker of EPD. Our findings suggest that research on the relationship between language and motor domains is crucial to develop models of motor cognition as well as diagnostic and intervention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11899
JournalScientific Reports
StatePublished - 8 Jul 2015


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