Unilateral cortical hyperexcitability in congenital hydrocephalus: A TMS study

Andrea Guerra, Giuseppe Curcio, Patrizio Pasqualetti, Federica Bressi, Sara Petrichella, Federica Scrascia, David Ponzo, Michela Ferilli, Fabrizio Vernieri, Paolo Maria Rossini, Florinda Ferreri

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

3 Citazioni (Scopus)


Introduction: Changes in cortical excitability are considered to play an important role in promoting brain plasticity both in healthy people and in neurological diseases. Hydrocephalus is a brain development disorder related to an excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricular system. The functional relevance of cortical structural changes described in this disease is largely unexplored in human. We investigated cortical excitability using multimodal transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in a case of congenital hydrocephalus with almost no neurological signs. Methods: A caucasian 40 years old, ambidextrous and multilingual woman affected by occult spina bifida and congenital symmetrical hydrocephalous underwent a TMS study. The intracortical and interhemispheric paired pulse paradigms were used, together with the mapping technique. Results: No significant differences were found in the resting motor thresholds between the two hemispheres. Instead, the intracortical excitability curves were statistically different between the two hemispheres (with short intracortical inhibition (SICI) being strongly reduced and intracortical facilitation (ICF) enhanced in the right one), and the interhemispheric curves showed a general hyper-excitability on the right hemisphere (when conditioned by the left one) and a general hypo-excitability in the left hemisphere (when conditioned by the right one). It is noteworthy that an asymmetric right hemisphere (RH) change of excitability was observed by means of mapping technique. Conclusion: We hypothesize that in this ambidextrous subject, the observed RH hyper-excitability could represent a mechanism of plasticity to preserve functionality of specific brain areas possibly devoted to some special skills, such as multilingualism.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)N/A-N/A
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2013


  • Hydrocephalus
  • Plasticity


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