Bridging the callosal gap in gait: corpus callosum white matter integrity’s role in lower limb coordination

Sutton B. Richmond, Daniel S. Peterson, Brett W. Fling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Bilateral coordination of the lower extremities is an essential component of mobility. The corpus callosum bridges the two hemispheres of the brain and is integral for the coordination of such complex movements. The aim of this project was to assess structural integrity of the transcallosal sensorimotor fiber tracts and identify their associations with gait coordination using novel methods of ecologically valid mobility assessments in persons with multiple sclerosis and age−/gender-matched neurotypical adults. Neurotypical adults (n = 29) and persons with multiple sclerosis (n = 27) underwent gait and diffusion tensor imaging assessments; the lower limb coordination via Phase Coordination Index, and radial diffusivity, an indirect marker of myelination, were applied as the primary outcome measures. Persons with multiple sclerosis possessed poorer transcallosal white matter microstructural integrity of sensorimotor fiber tracts compared to the neurotypical adults. Further, persons with multiple sclerosis demonstrated significantly poorer bilateral coordination of the lower limbs during over-ground walking in comparison to an age and gender-matched neurotypical cohort. Finally, bilateral coordination of the lower limbs was significantly associated with white matter microstructural integrity of the dorsal premotor and primary motor fiber bundles in persons with multiple sclerosis, but not in neurotypical adults. This analysis revealed that persons with multiple sclerosis exhibit poorer transcallosal microstructural integrity than neurotypical peers. Furthermore, these structural deficits were correlated to poorer consistency and accuracy of gait in those with multiple sclerosis. Together, these results, emphasize the importance of transcallosal communication for gait coordination in those with multiple sclerosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBrain Imaging and Behavior
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Bilateral coordination
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Sensorimotor Fiber tracts
  • Transcallosal communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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