Objective: To investigate white matter (WM) plasticity induced by intensive upper limb (UL) task specific training (TST) in chronic stroke. Methods: Diffusion tensor imaging data and UL function measured by the Action Research Arm Test (ARAT) were collected in 30 individuals with chronic stroke prior to and after intensive TST. ANOVAs tested the effects of training on the entire sample and on the Responders [ΔARAT ≥ 5.8, N = 13] and Non-Responders [ΔARAT < 5.8, N = 17] groups. Baseline fractional anisotropy (FA) values were correlated with ARATpost TST controlling for baseline ARAT and age to identify voxels predictive of response to TST. Results. While ARAT scores increased following training (p < 0.0001), FA changes within major WM tracts were not significant at p < 0.05. In the Responder group, larger baseline FA of both contralesional (CL) and transcallosal tracts predicted larger ARAT scores post-TST. Subcortical lesions and more severe damage to transcallosal tracts were more pronounced in the Non-Responder than in the Responder group. Conclusions: The motor improvements post-TST in the Responder group may reflect the engagement of interhemispheric processes not available to the Non-Responder group. Future studies should clarify differences in the role of CL and transcallosal pathways as biomarkers of recovery in response to training for individuals with cortical and subcortical stroke. This knowledge may help to identify sources of heterogeneity in stroke recovery, which is necessary for the development of customized rehabilitation interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102710
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Neuroimaging biomarker
  • Stroke rehabilitation
  • Task specific training
  • Transcallosal fibers
  • Upper limb


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