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Mirror movements in X-linked Kallmann's syndrome. I. A neurophysiological study.

M J Mayston, L M Harrison, R Quinton, J A Stephens, M Krams, P M Bouloux
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/120.7.1199 1199-1216 First published online: 1 July 1997


Possible mechanisms underlying the pathological mirror movements that are seen in the majority of patients with X-linked Kallmann's syndrome have been investigated using neurophysiological techniques. An EMG was recorded from the first dorsal interosseous muscle (1DI) during voluntary self-paced abduction of one indexed finger; EMG activity could also be recorded simultaneously from the contralateral 1DI. There was no significant difference between the time of onset of the bursts of voluntary and involuntary mirroring EMG. Focal magnetic stimulation of the hand area of the motor cortex revealed the presence of fast conducting bilateral corticospinal projections from each motor cortex in all subjects. However, both inter- and intra-subject differences exist when considering the ratio of ipsilaterally to contralaterally projecting axons. Cross-correlation analysis of multi-unit EMGs recorded during simultaneous voluntary sustained activation of homologous left and right pairs of distal upper limb muscles was performed. A short duration central peak was seen in the cross-correlograms indicating the presence of a common drive to left and right homologous motor neuron pools. This common drive may result from the synchronous activation of intermingled ipsilaterally and contralaterally projecting corticospinal neurons in the motor cortex. Cutaneomuscular reflexes were recorded from the 1DI following stimulation of the digital nerves of the index finger. Typically each reflex comprises spinal and longer latency trans-cortical components. In these subjects, the long latency components of the reflex response could, in addition, be recorded from the 1DI of the non-stimulated side. We conclude that these subject have a novel ipsilateral at least in part, for the pathological mirroring.