Somatotopic organization in the internal segment of the globus pallidus in Parkinson's disease

Kenneth B. Baker, John Y.K. Lee, Gaurav Mavinkurve, Gary S. Russo, Benjamin Walter, Mahlon R. DeLong, Roy A.E. Bakay, Jerrold L. Vitek

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48 Scopus citations


Ablation or deep brain stimulation in the internal segment of the globus pallidus (GPi) is an effective therapy for the treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD). Yet many patients receive only partial benefit, including varying levels of improvement across different body regions, which may relate to a differential effect of GPi surgery on the different body regions. Unfortunately, our understanding of the somatotopic organization of human GPi is based on a small number of studies with limited sample sizes, including several based upon only a single recording track or plane. To fully address the three-dimensional somatotopic organization of GPi, we examined the receptive field properties of pallidal neurons in a large cohort of patients undergoing stereotactic surgery. The response of neurons to active and passive movements of the limbs and orofacial structures was determined, using a minimum of three tracks across at least two medial-lateral planes. Neurons (3183) were evaluated from 299 patients, of which 1972 (62%) were modulated by sensorimotor manipulation. Of these, 1767 responded to a single, contralateral body region, with the remaining 205 responding to multiple and/or ipsilateral body regions. Leg-related neurons were found dorsal, medial and anterior to arm-related neurons, while arm-related neurons were dorsal and lateral to orofacial-related neurons. This study provides a more detailed map of individual body regions as well as specific joints within each region and provides a potential explanation for the differential effect of lesions or DBS of the GPi on different body parts in patients undergoing surgical treatment of movement disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-225
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Basal ganglia
  • Deep brain stimulation, Somatotopic organization
  • Microelectrode
  • Pallidotomy
  • Parkinson's disease


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