The synchronization of neuronal activity in the sensorimotor cortices is crucial for motor control and learning. This synchrony can be modulated by upstream activity in the cerebello-cortical network. However, many questions remain over the details of how the cerebral cortex and the cerebellum communicate. Therefore, our aim is to study the contribution of the cerebellum to oscillatory brain activity, in particular in the case of dystonia, a severely disabling motor disease associated with altered sensorimotor coupling. We used a kainic-induced dystonia model to evaluate cerebral cortical oscillatory activity and connectivity during dystonic episodes. We performed microinjections of low doses of kainic acid into the cerebellar vermis in mice and examined activities in somatosensory, motor and parietal cortices. We showed that repeated applications of kainic acid into the cerebellar vermis, for five consecutive days, generate reproducible dystonic motor behavior. No epileptiform activity was recorded on electrocorticogram (ECoG) during the dystonic postures or movements. We investigated the ECoG power spectral density and coherence between motor cortex, somatosensory and parietal cortices before and during dystonic attacks. During the baseline condition, we found a phenomenon of permanent adaptation with a change of baseline locomotor activity coupled to an ECoG gamma band increase in all cortices. In addition, after kainate administration, we observed an increase in muscular activity, but less signs of dystonia together with modulations of the ECoG power spectra with an increase in gamma band in motor, parietal and somatosensory cortices. Moreover, we found reduced coherence in all measured frequency bands between the motor cortex and somatosensory or parietal cortices compared to baseline. In conclusion, examination of cortical oscillatory activities in this animal model of chronic dystonia caused by cerebellar dysfunction reveals a disruption in the coordination of neuronal activity across the cortical sensorimotor/parietal network, which may underlie motor skill deficits.
Georgescu, E. L., Georgescu, I. A., Zahiu, C. D. M., Şteopoaie, A. R., Morozan, V. P., Pană, A. Ş., … Popa, D. (2018). Oscillatory cortical activity in an animal model of dystonia caused by cerebellar dysfunction. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fncel.2018.00390