Background and aims Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy (CP) is mainly characterised by basal ganglia and thalamus injury as well as worse motor functioning compared to other CP types. Associations of higher levels in Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) and in Bimanual Fine Motor Function (BFMF) with basal ganglia and thalamus lesions have only been described qualitatively. This study aims to analyse the quantitative relationship of basal ganglia and thalamus volumes with motor status measured by means of the three Surveillance of Cerebral Palsy in Europe (SCPE) recommended scales: GMFCS, BFMF and Manual Ability Classification System (MACS).
Methods Gross and fine motor status of 15 dyskinetic CP participants with signs of perinatal asphyxia (age range: 12–34) were assessed. 3T-MRI was obtained and Free Surfer software was used to estimate basal ganglia and thalamus volumes. Partial correlations controlling for age were performed.
Results Caudate (r = -.70; p < 0.01), putamen (r = -.59; p < 0.05) and pallidum (r = -.60; p < 0.05) volumes correlated with GMFCS. Moreover, caudate (r = -.68; p < 0.01), putamen (r = -.63; p < 0.05) and thalamus (r = -.55; p < 0.05) volumes correlated with MACS. BFMF was not related with basal ganglia and thalamus measures.
Conclusions Greater gross and fine motor impairment severity is associated with lower basal ganglia and thalamus volumes, which is consistent with qualitative results of previous studies. This is the first evidence of a quantitative relationship between two widely used scales of motor functioning and deep brain grey matter in dyskinetic CP. GMFCS and MACS, but maybe not BFMF scale, are sensitive to basal ganglia and thalamus injury in this CP type.