Journal of neurophysiology

Pallidal stimulation suppresses pathological dysrhythmia in the parkinsonian motor cortex.

PMID 25652922


Although there is general consensus that deep brain stimulation (DBS) yields substantial clinical benefit in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), the therapeutic mechanism of DBS remains a matter of debate. Recent studies demonstrate that DBS targeting the globus pallidus internus (GPi-DBS) suppresses pathological oscillations in firing rate and between-cell spike synchrony in the vicinity of the electrode but has negligible effects on population-level firing rate or the prevalence of burst firing. The present investigation examines the downstream consequences of GPi-DBS at the level of the primary motor cortex (M1). Multielectrode, single cell recordings were conducted in the M1 of two parkinsonian nonhuman primates (Macaca fasicularis). GPi-DBS that induced significant reductions in muscular rigidity also reduced the prevalence of both beta (12-30 Hz) oscillations in single unit firing rates and of coherent spiking between pairs of M1 neurons. In individual neurons, GPi-DBS-induced increases in mean firing rate were three times more common than decreases; however, averaged across the population of M1 neurons, GPi-DBS induced no net change in mean firing rate. The population-level prevalence of burst firing was also not affected by GPi-DBS. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that suppression of both pathological, beta oscillations and synchronous activity throughout the cortico-basal ganglia network is a major therapeutic mechanism of GPi-DBS.