Movement-related potentials in Huntington's disease: movement preparation and execution

Katherine Johnson, R. Cunnington, R. Iansek, J.L. Bradshaw, N. Georgiou, E. Chiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Movement-related potentials (MRPs) reflect increasing cortical activity related to the preparation and execution of voluntary movement. Execution and preparatory components may be separated by comparing MRPs recorded from actual and imagined movement. Imagined movement initiates preparatory processes, but not motor execution activity. MRPs are maximal over the supplementary motor area (SMA), an area of the cortex involved in the planning and preparation of movement. The SMA receives input from the basal ganglia, which are affected in Huntington's disease (HD), a hyperkinetic movement disorder. In order to further elucidate the effects of the disorder upon the cortical activity relating to movement, MRPs were recorded from ten HD patients, and ten age-matched controls, whilst they performed and imagined performing a sequential button-pressing task. HD patients produced MRPs of significantly reduced size both for performed and imagined movement. The component relating to movement execution was obtained by subtracting the MRP for imagined movement from the MRP for performed movement, and was found to be normal in HD. The movement preparation component was found by subtracting the MRP found for a control condition of watching the visual cues from the MRP for imagined movement. This preparation component in HD was reduced in early slope, peak amplitude, and post-peak slope. This study therefore reported abnormal MRPs in HD. particularly in terms of the components relating to movement preparation, and this finding may further explain the movement deficits reported in the disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)492-499
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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