Functional Role of the Corticoreticular Pathway in Chronic Stroke Patients
Background and Purpose—The corticoreticular pathway (CRP) is known to be an important extrapyramidal tract for walking ability. However, little is known about the functional role of the CRP in recovery of walking ability. We investigated relation between the CRP and walking ability in chronic hemiparetic stroke patients.
Methods—Among 209 consecutive patients, 54 patients, who showed complete injury of the corticospinal tract (CST) in the affected hemisphere on diffusion tensor tractography, and 20 normal subjects were recruited. Functional ambulation category was used in measurement of walking ability. The fractional anisotropy value, apparent diffusion coefficient value, and fiber volume of the CRP and CST were used for the diffusion tensor imaging parameters.
Results—In the affected hemisphere, no significant difference in diffusion tensor imaging parameters of the CRP was observed between patient subgroups. In the unaffected hemisphere, patients who were able to walk showed significantly increased fiber volume of the CRP, compared with patients who could not walk and normal control subjects (P<0.05), without significant difference in fractional anisotropy and apparent diffusion coefficient values. In addition, the fiber volume of the CRP in the unaffected hemisphere showed positive correlation with functional ambulation category (P<0.05). In contrast, diffusion tensor imaging parameters of the CST in the unaffected hemisphere showed no correlation with functional ambulation category (P>0.05).
Conclusions—The increased fiber volume of the CRP in the unaffected hemisphere seems to be related to walking ability in patients with chronic stroke. Therefore, the compensation of the CRP in the unaffected hemisphere seems to be one of the mechanisms for recovery of walking ability after stroke.
- Received November 28, 2012.
- Revision received December 27, 2012.
- Accepted January 3, 2013.
- © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.