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Increased intracortical inhibition in hyperglycemic hemichorea-hemiballism


  • Jie-Yuan Li,

    1. Division of Neurology, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan, R.O.C.
    2. Faculty of Medicine, School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan, R.O.C.
    3. Department of Nursing, Yuh-Ing Junior College of Health Care & Management, Taiwan, R.O.C.
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  • Robert Chen

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine and Toronto Western Research Institute, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    • Correspondence to: Dr. Robert Chen, Toronto Western Hospital, 7MC411, 399 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5T 2S8, E-mail:

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  • Funding agencies: This study was supported by grant VGHKS101-013 from Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan (R.O.C.). Dr. Chen was supported by the Catherine Manson Chair in Movement Disorders.

  • Relevant conflicts of interest/financial disclosures: Nothing to report.

  • Full financial disclosures and author roles may be found in the online version of this article.


Hemichorea-hemiballism (HC-HB) in uncontrolled diabetes mellitus is an uncommon manifestation of hyperglycemia. The pathophysiology of hyperglycemic HC-HB is not well understood. A previous report showed increased intracortical inhibition in the motor cortex in a patient with diabetes with HC-HB. The objective of this study is to investigate motor cortex excitability in patients with hyperglycemic HC-HB. We hypothesized that intracortical inhibition measured with transcranial magnetic stimulation, which likely reflects the excitability of cortical γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic circuits, would be impaired in patients with hyperglycemic HC-HB. We studied 15 patients with mean age 71.5 years (range, 48-94 y) and 12 age-matched healthy subjects. The motor cortex contralateral to the hemichorea was tested. Transcranial magnetic stimulation measures included motor evoked potential, recruitment curve, GABAA mediated short interval intracortical inhibition, intracortical facilitation, and GABAB mediated silent period duration and long interval intracortical inhibition. No significant difference was found in motor threshold, recruitment curve response, short interval intracortical inhibition, or intracortical facilitation in both rest and active conditions between patients with hyperglycemic HC-HB and normal subjects. However, long interval intracortical inhibition was significantly increased during muscle activation but not at rest in patients with hyperglycemic HC-HB. The silent period duration is also increased in patients with hyperglycemic HC-HB. We concluded that long interval intracortical inhibition and silent period are increased in the motor cortex contralateral to the hemichorea in hyperglycemic HC-HB, but only during muscle activation. Hemichorea-hemiballism may be associated with increased GABAB receptor-mediated inhibitory activity in the motor cortex. © 2014 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society