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BDNF Val66Met Polymorphism Is Related to Motor System Function After Stroke | Physical Therapy | Oxford Academic
Objective

The current study examined whether the presence of the BDNF val66met polymorphism is associated with reduced motor system activation after stroke.

Design and Methods

Forty-two
patients with stroke who were enrolled in 1 of 2 studies of
robot-assisted arm motor therapy participated in the study. All
participants were tested for the BDNF val66met polymorphism followed by functional magnetic resonance imaging during affected hand movement.

Results

Participants
averaged 12 months poststroke and had wide-ranging motor deficits
(Fugl-Meyer scale scores=14–60). Brain activation in participants
without the BDNF val66met polymorphism (n=26) spanned
bilateral motor networks with a larger volume (total=334 cc) than that
found in participants with this polymorphism (n=16) (97 cc). Regional
analyses were consistent. Participants without this polymorphism showed
larger ipsilesional primary sensorimotor cortex activation volume and
magnitude compared with those in whom the polymorphism was present.

Limitations

The
extent to which these findings generalize to other populations of
people with stroke, such as those with stroke <7 days prior, remains
uncertain.

Conclusions

Functional
magnetic resonance imaging during affected hand movement showed
decreased brain activation among participants with the BDNF val66met
polymorphism compared with those lacking this polymorphism, especially
in the ipsilesional primary sensorimotor cortex contralateral to
movement. These results echo findings in healthy people and suggest that
genetic factors affecting the normal brain continue to be operative
after stroke. The findings suggest a potential imaging-based
endophenotype for the BDNF val66met polymorphism's effect on the motor system that may be useful in a clinical trial setting.

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