Chronic stress-like syndrome as a consequence of medial site subthalamic stimulation in Parkinson's disease.

Psychoneuroendocrinology (2015-01-03)
Filip Růžička, Robert Jech, Lucie Nováková, Dušan Urgošík, Ondřej Bezdíček, Josef Vymazal, Evžen Růžička

Considering the functional organization of the subthalamic nucleus (STN), we hypothesized that subthalamic deep brain stimulation (STN-DBS) in Parkinson's disease might have a differential impact on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in relation to the position of active stimulating contact within the STN. In addition, we searched for any STN-DBS-related morning plasma cortisol changes in association with postoperative anxiety and weight gain. A plasma cortisol measurement was performed on the day of initiation of bilateral STN-DBS and repeated after 1 and 17 months in twenty patients with advanced Parkinson's disease. The body weight change and anxiety scores following the implantation were assessed as well. The electrode positions in the STN were determined on T1-weighted magnetic resonance images. After initiation of stimulation, cortisol levels significantly decreased and the cortisol changes after 1 and 17 months strongly correlated with the position of active contact in the subthalamic area. Patients with at least one contact located more medially in the STN experienced a significantly greater decrease of cortisol than those with one or both active contacts more laterally. Furthermore, the lower cortisol levels were strongly associated with higher trait anxiety and weight gain. These changes mimicked the effects of chronic stress and suggest the disturbing impact of STN-DBS on limbic and motivational systems.

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