Animal models of focal dystonia
- Cite this article as:
- Evinger, C. Neurotherapeutics (2005) 2: 513. doi:10.1602/neurorx.2.3.513
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Animal models indicate that the abnormal movements of focal dystonia result from disordered sensorimotor integration. Sensorimotor integration involves a comparison of sensory information resulting from a movement with the sensory information expected from the movement. Unanticipated sensory signals identified by sensorimotor processing serve as signals to modify the ongoing movement or the planning for subsequent movements. Normally, this process is an effective mechanism to modify neural commands for ongoing movement or for movement planning. Animal models of the focal dystonias spasmodic torticollis, writer’s cramp, and benign essential blepharospasm reveal different dysfunctions of sensorimotor integration through which dystonia can arise. Animal models of spasmodic torticollis demonstrate that modifications in a variety of regions are capable of creating abnormal head postures. These data indicate that disruption of neural signals in one structure may mutate the activity pattern of other elements of the neural circuits for movement. The animal model of writer’s cramp demonstrates the importance of abnormal sensory processing in generating dystonic movements. Animal models of blepharospasm illustrate how disrupting motor adaptation can produce dystonia. Together, these models show mechanisms by which disruptions in sensorimotor integration can create dystonic movements.