The term dystonia was introduced by Oppenheim and Vogt in 1911 to describe the relatively slow, sustained, frequently forceful contorting movements involving striatal muscles. Dystonia is characteristically seen in childhood ("primary dystonia" but also occurs in a variety of other disorders of the CNS ("secondary dystonia" In the case of childhood dystonia (dystonia musculorum deformans) symptoms usually occur in young patients in which case the illness is usually inherited as either autosomal dominant or recessive. In cases of adult onset dystonia, genetic factors are less likely (Eldridge, 1970). Although dystonic movement disorders have been presumed to originate from dysfunction of the basal ganglia, examination of the brains of patients who have died with idiopathic or hereditary dystonia musculorum deformans have revealed no consistent neuropathological or neurochemical abnormalities (Zeman, 1970). Furthermore, therapy of value in the treatment of other basal ganglia disorders, in these conditions, has not been helpful (Fahn, 1982). The following paper will discuss evidence implicating deranged hypothalamic neuropeptidergic functions in dystonia. We have developed a hypothesis, which reviews and incorporates published data, in which we discuss the role of deranged hypothalamic neuropeptidergic function in the pathnophysiology of idiopathic dystonia.
- Locus coeruleus
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