Objective: To test the hypothesis that there is shared regional or global functional connectivity dysfunction in a large cohort of patients with isolated focal dystonia affecting different body regions compared to control participants. In this case-control study, we obtained resting-state MRI scans (three or four 7.3-minute runs) with eyes closed in participants with focal dystonia (cranial [17], cervical [13], laryngeal [18], or limb [10]) and age-and sex-matched controls. Methods: Rigorous preprocessing for all analyses was performed to minimize effect of head motion during scan acquisition (dystonia n = 58, control n = 47 analyzed). We assessed regional functional connectivity by computing a seed-correlation map between putamen, pallidum, and sensorimotor cortex and all brain voxels. We assessed significant group differences on a cluster-wise basis. In a separate analysis, we applied 300 seed regions across the cortex, cerebellum, basal ganglia, and thalamus to comprehensively sample the whole brain. We obtained participant whole-brain correlation matrices by computing the correlation between seed average time courses for each seed pair. Weighted object-oriented data analysis assessed group-level whole-brain differences. Results: Participants with focal dystonia had decreased functional connectivity at the regional level, within the striatum and between lateral primary sensorimotor cortex and ventral intraparietal area, whereas whole-brain correlation matrices did not differ between focal dystonia and control groups. Rigorous quality control measures eliminated spurious large-scale functional connectivity differences between groups. Conclusion: Regional functional connectivity differences, not global network level dysfunction, contributes to common pathophysiologic mechanisms in isolated focal dystonia. Rigorous quality control eliminated spurious large-scale network differences between patients with focal dystonia and control participants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E2246-E2258
Issue number16
StatePublished - Oct 20 2020


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