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Abstract

Early-onset idiopathic torsion dystonia (ITD) is an autosomal dominant hyperkinetic movement disorder with incomplete penetrance, associated with a 3 base-pair deletion in the DYT1 gene on chromosome 9q34. To determine the metabolic substrates of brain dysfunction in DYT1 dystonia, we scanned 7 nonmanifesting and 10 affected DYT1 carriers and 14 normal volunteers with [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose and positron emission tomography. We found that DYT1 dystonia is mediated by the expression of two independent regional metabolic covariance patterns. The first pattern, identified in an analysis of nonmanifesting gene carriers was designated movement free (MF). This abnormal pattern was characterized by increased metabolic activity in the lentiform nuclei, cerebellum, and supplementary motor areas. The MF pattern was present in DYT1 carriers with and without clinical manifestations and persisted in DYT1 dystonia patients in whom involuntary movements were suppressed by sleep. The second pattern, identified in an analysis of affected gene carriers with sustained contractions at rest, was designated movement related (MR). This pattern was characterized by increased metabolic activity in the midbrain, cerebellum, and thalamus. The expression of the MR pattern was increased in waking DYT1 patients with sustained dystonia, compared with DYT1 carriers who were unaffected or who had dystonia only on action, as well as normal controls. MR subject scores declined significantly with sleep in affected DYT1 patients but not in normal controls. These findings indicate the penetrance of the DYT1 gene is considerably greater than previously assumed. ITD is mediated through the interaction of functional brain networks relating separately to gene status and to abnormal movement.