Abnormal Functional Brain Connectivity and Personality Traits in Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1

Gabriella Silvestri, Marcella Masciullo, Maria Laura Ester Bianchi, Laura Serra, Antonio Petrucci, Barbara Basile, Elena Makovac, Mario Torso, Barbara Spanò, Chiara Mastropasqua, Neil A. Harrison, Manlio Giacanelli, Carlo Caltagirone, Mara Cercignani, Marco Bozzali

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46 Citations (Scopus)


IMPORTANCE Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1), the most common muscular dystrophy observed in adults, is a genetic multisystem disorder affecting several other organs besides skeletal muscle, including the brain. Cognitive and personality abnormalities have been reported; however, no studies have investigated brain functional networks and their relationship with personality traits/disorders in patients with DM1. OBJECTIVE To use resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging to assess the potential relationship between personality traits/disorders and changes to functional connectivity within the default mode network (DMN) in patients with DM1. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS We enrolled 27 patients with genetically confirmed DM1 and 16 matched healthy control individuals. Patients underwent personality assessment using clinical interview and Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 administration; all participants underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Investigations were conducted at the Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Santa Lucia Foundation, Catholic University of Sacred Heart, and Azienda Ospedaliera San Camillo Forlanini. INTERVENTION Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Measures of personality traits in patients and changes in functional connectivity within the DMN in patients and controls. Changes in functional connectivity and atypical personality traits in patients were correlated. RESULTS We combined results obtained from the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 and clinical interview to identify a continuum of atypical personality profiles ranging from schizotypal personality traits to paranoid personality disorder within our DM1 patients. We also demonstrated an increase in functional connectivity in the bilateral posterior cingulate and left parietal DMN nodes in DM1 patients compared with controls. Moreover, patients with DM1 showed strong associations between DMN functional connectivity and schizotypal-paranoid traits. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Our findings provide novel biological evidence that DM1 is a clinical condition that also involves an alteration of functional connectivity of the brain. We speculate that these functional brain abnormalities, similarly to frank psychiatric disorders, may account for the atypical personality traits observed in patients with DM1.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)N/A-N/A
JournalJAMA Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • myotonic dystrophy


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