Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Structural brain abnormalities in cervical dystonia

Tino Prell1*, Thomas Peschel2, Bernadette Köhler3, Martin H Bokemeyer4, Reinhard Dengler3, Albrecht Günther15 and Julian Grosskreutz1

Author Affiliations

1 Hans-Berger Department of Neurology, Jena University Hospital, Erlanger Allee 101, 07747 Jena, Germany

2 Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical School Hannover, Carl-Neuberg-Strasse 1, 80625 Hannover, Germany

3 Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, Medical School Hannover, Carl-Neuberg-Str.1, 30625 Hannover, Germany

4 Department of Neuroradiology, Jena University Hospital, Erlanger Allee 101, 07747 Jena, Germany

5 Center for Sepsis Control and Care, Jena University Hospital, Erlanger Allee 101, 07747 Jena, Germany

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Neuroscience 2013, 14:123  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-14-123

Published: 16 October 2013



Idiopathic cervical dystonia is characterized by involuntary spasms, tremors or jerks. It is not restricted to a disturbance in the basal ganglia system because non-conventional voxel-based MRI morphometry (VBM) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) have detected numerous regional changes in the brains of patients.

In this study scans of 24 patients with cervical dystonia and 24 age-and sex-matched controls were analysed using VBM, DTI and magnetization transfer imaging (MTI) using a voxel-based approach and a region-of-interest analysis. Results were correlated with UDRS, TWSTRS and disease duration.


We found structural alterations in the basal ganglia; thalamus; motor cortex; premotor cortex; frontal, temporal and parietal cortices; visual system; cerebellum and brainstem of the patients with dystonia.


Cervical dystonia is a multisystem disease involving several networks such as the motor, sensory and visual systems.

Visual system; Basal ganglia; Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex