A clinical and neurophysiological motor signature of Unverricht–Lundborg disease

Abstract : Objectives: Unverricht–Lundborg disease (ULD) is the most common form of progressive myoclonus epilepsy. Cerebellar dysfunction may appear over time, contributing along with myoclonus to motor disability. The purpose of the present work was to clarify the motor and neurophysiological characteristics of ULD patients. Methods: Nine patients with genetically proven ULD were evaluated clinically (medical history collected from patient charts, the Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia and Unified Myoclonus Rating Scale). Neurophysiological investigations included EEG, surface polymyography, long-loop C-reflexes, somatosensory evoked potentials, EEG jerk-locked back-averaging (JLBA) and oculomotor recordings. All patients underwent brain MRI. Non-parametric Mann-Whitney tests were used to compare ULD patients’ oculomotor parameters with those of a matched group of healthy volunteers (HV). Results: Myoclonus was activated by action but was virtually absent at rest and poorly induced by stimuli. Positive myoclonus was multifocal, often rhythmic and of brief duration, with top-down pyramidal temporospatial propagation. Cortical neurophysiology revealed a transient wave preceding myoclonus on EEG JLBA (n = 8), enlarged somatosensory evoked potentials (n = 7) and positive long-loop C-reflexes at rest (n = 5). Compared with HV, ULD patients demonstrated decreased saccadic gain, increased gain dispersion and a higher frequency of hypermetric saccades associated with decreased peak velocity. Conclusion: A homogeneous motor pattern was delineated that may represent a ULD clinical and neurophysiological signature. Clinical and neurophysiological findings confirmed the pure cortical origin of the permanent myoclonus. Also, oculomotor findings shed new light on ULD pathophysiology by evidencing combined midbrain and cerebellar dysfunction.
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Submitted on : Sunday, July 16, 2017 - 12:24:46 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - 3:41:48 PM

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E. Hainque, A. Blancher, V. Mesnage, S. Rivaud-Pechoux, A. Bertrand, et al.. A clinical and neurophysiological motor signature of Unverricht–Lundborg disease. Revue Neurologique, Elsevier Masson, 2018, ⟨10.1016/j.neurol.2017.06.005⟩. ⟨hal-01562621⟩

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