Subthalamic nucleus stimulation modulates thalamic neuronal activity

Weidong Xu, Gary S. Russo, Takao Hashimoto, Jianyu Zhang, Jerrold L. Vitek

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Deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the subthalamic nucleus (STN) is an effective tool for the treatment of advanced Parkinson's disease. The mechanism by which STN DBS elicits its beneficial effect, however, remains unclear. We previously reported STN stimulation increased the rate and produced a more regular and periodic pattern of neuronal activity in the internal segment of the globus pallidus (GPi). Here we extend our observations to neurons in the pallidal [ventralis lateralis pars oralis (VLo) and ventralis anterior (VA)] and cerebellar [ventralis lateralis posterior pars oralis (VPLo)] receiving areas of the motor thalamus during STN DBS. Stimulation parameters that produced improvement in rigidity and bradykinesia resulted in changes in the pattern and power of oscillatory activity of neuronal activity that were similar in both regions of the motor thalamus. Neurons in both VA/VLo and VPLo tended to become more periodic and regular with a shift in oscillatory activity from low to high frequencies. Burst activity was reduced in VA/VLo, but was not significantly changed in VPLo. There was also a significant shift in the population of VA/VLo neurons that were inhibited during STN DBS, whereas VPLo neurons tended to be activated. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that STN DBS increases output from the nucleus and produces a change in the pattern and periodicity of neuronal activity in the basal ganglia thalamic network, and that these changes include cerebellar pathways likely via activation of adjacent cerebello-thalamic fiber bundles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11916-11924
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number46
StatePublished - Nov 12 2008


  • DBS
  • MPTP
  • Oscillation
  • Pattern
  • STN
  • Thalamus


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