Experimental neurology

Functional correlates of exaggerated oscillatory activity in basal ganglia output in hemiparkinsonian rats.

PMID 25084518


Exaggerated beta range (13-30Hz) synchronized activity is observed in the basal ganglia of Parkinson's disease (PD) patients during implantation of deep brain stimulation electrodes and is thought to contribute to the motor symptoms of this disorder. To explore the translational potential of similar activity observed in a rat model of PD, local field potentials (LFPs) and spiking activity in basal ganglia output were characterized in rats with unilateral dopamine cell lesion during a range of behaviors. A circular treadmill was used to assess activity during walking; hemiparkinsonian rats could maintain a steady gait when oriented ipsiversive to the lesioned hemisphere, but were less effective at walking when oriented contraversive to lesion. Dramatic increases in substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNpr) LFP oscillatory activity and spike-LFP synchronization were observed within the beta/low gamma range (12-40Hz) in the lesioned hemisphere, relative to the non-lesioned hemisphere, with the dominant frequency of spike-LFP entrainment and LFP power varying with behavioral state. At 3weeks postlesion, the mean dominant entrainment frequency during ipsiversive treadmill walking and grooming was 34Hz. Other behaviors were associated with lower mean entrainment frequencies: 27-28Hz during alert non-walking and REM, 17Hz during rest and 21Hz during urethane anesthesia with sensory stimulation. SNpr spike-LFP entrainment frequency was stable during individual treadmill walking epochs, but increased gradually over weeks postlesion. In contrast, SNpr LFP power in the 25-40Hz range was greatest at the initiation of each walking epoch, and decreased during walking to stabilize by 6min at 49% of initial values. Power was further modulated in conjunction with the 1.5s stepping rhythm. Administration of l-dopa improved contraversive treadmill walking in correlation with a reduction in SNpr 25-40Hz LFP power and spike synchronization in the dopamine cell lesioned hemisphere. These effects were reversed by the serotonergic 1A agonist, 8-OH-DPAT. While the prominent spike-LFP phase locking observed during ongoing motor activity in the hemiparkinsonian rats occurs at frequencies intriguingly higher than in PD patients, the synchronized activity in the SNpr of this animal model has much in common with oscillatory activity recorded from the basal ganglia of the PD patients. Results support the potential of this model for providing insight into relationships between synchronization of basal ganglia output induced by loss of dopamine and motor symptoms in PD.