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Cerebellar dysfunction in progressive supranuclear palsy: A transcranial magnetic stimulation study

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  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.

Abstract

Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) rarely shows cerebellar signs and symptoms even though the cerebellar dentate nuclei are involved pathologically. This study evaluates cerebellar function using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to determine whether subclinical cerebellar involvement is present in PSP patients. We studied 11 patients with PSP, 11 patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), and 10 age-matched controls. Patients were examined with their usual medications and in their relative on state. Motor evoked potentials (MEPs) were recorded from the hand muscle. Cerebellar function was evaluated using suppressive effects of TMS over the cerebellum on MEPs elicited by TMS over the contralateral motor cortex, which we call cerebellar inhibition (CBI). Interstimulus intervals (ISIs) of 4 to 8 ms were used, and the time course of CBI was analyzed. The CBI was reduced in PSP patients. By contrast, the CBI was normal in PD patients in their on state. Although the CBI in their off state should be examined in future studies, the results described herein suggest that Purkinje cells or the dentato–thalamo–cortical pathway assessed by CBI is involved in PSP. Our results are compatible with the pathological findings showing severe dentate nucleus degeneration in PSP patients. © 2010 Movement Disorder Society

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