Role of Microelectrode Recording in Deep Brain Stimulation of the Pedunculopontine Nucleus: A Physiological Study of Two Cases

Takehiro Yako, Kazuo Kitazawa, Shigeaki Kobayashi, Shoji Yomo, Hiromasa Sato, Luke A. Johnson, Jerrold L. Vitek, Takao Hashimoto

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Background: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) has been reported to improve gait disturbances in Parkinson's disease (PD); however, there are controversies on the radiological and electrophysiological techniques for intraoperative and postoperative confirmation of the target and determination of optimal stimulation parameters. Objectives: We investigated the correlation between the location of the estimated PPN (ePPN) and neuronal activity collected during intraoperative electrophysiological mapping to evaluate the role of microelectrode recording (MER) in identifying the effective stimulation site in two PD patients. Materials and Methods: Bilateral PPN DBS was performed in two patients who had suffered from levodopa refractory gait disturbance. They had been implanted previously with DBS in the internal globus pallidus and the subthalamic nucleus, respectively. The PPN was determined on MRI and identified by intraoperative MER. Neuronal activity recorded was analyzed for mean discharge rate, bursting, and oscillatory activity. The effects were assessed by clinical ratings for motor signs before and after surgery. Results: The PPN location was detected by MER. Groups of neurons characterized by tonic discharges were found 9–10 mm below the thalamus. The mean discharge rate in the ePPN was 19.1 ± 15.1 Hz, and 33% of the neurons of the ePPN responded with increased discharge rate during passive manipulation of the limbs and orofacial structures. PPN DBS with bipolar stimulation at a frequency range 10–30 Hz improved gait disturbances in both patients. Although PPN DBS provided therapeutic effects post-surgery in both cases, the effects waned after a year in case 1 and three years in case 2. Conclusions: Estimation of stimulation site within the PPN is possible by combining physiological guidance using MER and MRI findings. The PPN is a potential target for gait disturbances, although the efficacy of PPN DBS may depend on the location of the electrode and the stimulation parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)925-934
Number of pages10
Issue number6
Early online dateAug 26 2021
StatePublished - Aug 2022

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  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Parkinson's disease
  • image-guided neurosurgery
  • microelectrode recording
  • pedunculopontine nucleus


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