• diffusion tensor MRI;
  • primary dystonia;
  • motor control;
  • cerebellum;
  • brainstem;
  • basal ganglia;
  • torsinA


Primary torsion dystonia (PTD) has been conceptualized as a disorder of the basal ganglia. However, recent data suggest a widespread pathology involving motor control pathways. In this report, we explored whether PTD is associated with abnormal anatomical connectivity within motor control pathways. We used diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DT-MRI) to assess the microstructure of white matter. We found that fractional anisotropy, a measure of axonal integrity and coherence, was significantly reduced in PTD patients in the pontine brainstem in the vicinity of the left superior cerebellar peduncle and bilaterally in the white matter of the sensorimotor region. Our data thus support the possibility of a disturbance in cerebello-thalamo-cortical pathways as a cause of the clinical manifestations of PTD. © 2007 Movement Disorder Society