Fatigue in multiple sclerosis (MS) is a highly disabling symptom. Among the central mechanisms behind it, an involvement of sensorimotor networks is clearly evident from structural and functional studies. We aimed at assessing whether functional/structural balances of homologous sensorimotor regions-known to be crucial for sensorimotor networks effectiveness-decrease with MS fatigue increase. Functional connectivity measures at rest and during a simple motor task (weak handgrip of either the right or left hand) were derived from primary sensorimotor areas electroencephalographic recordings in 27 mildly disabled MS patients. Structural MRI-derived inter-hemispheric asymmetries included the cortical thickness of Rolandic regions and the volume of thalami. Fatigue symptoms increased together with the functional inter-hemispheric imbalance of sensorimotor homologous areas activities at rest and during movement, in absence of any appreciable parenchymal asymmetries. This finding supports the development of compensative interventions that may revert these neuronal activity imbalances to relieve fatigue in MS.
Journal of Neurology, 2015, Vol 262, Issue 3, p. 614-622