Neural targets for relieving parkinsonian rigidity and bradykinesia with pallidal deep brain stimulation

Matthew D. Johnson, Jianyu Zhang, Debabrata Ghosh, Cameron C. McIntyre, Jerrold L. Vitek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Clinical evidence has suggested that subtle changes in deep brain stimulation (DBS) settings can have differential effects on bradykinesia and rigidity in patients with Parkinson's disease. In this study, we first investigated the degree of improvement in bradykinesia and rigidity during targeted globus pallidus DBS in three 1-methyl-4- phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-treated rhesus macaques. Behavioral outcomes of DBS were then coupled with detailed, subject- specific computational models of neurons in the globus pallidus internus (GPi), globus pallidus externus (GPe), and internal capsule (IC) to determine which neuronal pathways when modulated with high-frequency electrical stimulation best correlate with improvement in motor symptoms. The modeling results support the hypothesis that multiple neuronal pathways can underlie the therapeutic effect of DBS on parkinsonian bradykinesia and rigidity. Across all three subjects, improvements in rigidity correlated most strongly with spread of neuronal activation into IC, driving a small percentage of fibers within this tract (<10% on average). The most robust effect on bradykinesia resulted from stimulating a combination of sensorimotor axonal projections within the GP, specifically at the site of the medial medullary lamina. Thus the beneficial effects of pallidal DBS for parkinsonian symptoms may occur from multiple targets within and near the target nucleus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-577
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 2012


  • Globus pallidus
  • Parkinson's disease


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