Non-motor effects of deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus in Parkinson's disease: preliminary physiological results

Neurol Sci. 2001 Feb;22(1):85-6. doi: 10.1007/s100720170059.


Although deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a clinically effective therapy for patients with advanced Parkinson's disease (PD), its physiological effects on the brain and possible actions on non-motor functional systems remain largely unknown. This study evaluated the effects of DBS of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) on neurophysiological variables and on cardiovascular physiology. Nine patients affected by PD undergoing chronic DBS of the STN have been studied. We performed electroencephalography (EEG), somatosensory (SEPs) and visual evoked potentials (VEPs), exteroceptive masseteric silent period and sympathetic skin response (SSR) studies with DBS ON and OFF. To assess the effects of stimulation on the cardiovascular system the tilt test and plasma renin activity were studied. When we turned the DBS OFF, both SEP N20 and the VEP P100 component increased significantly in amplitude whereas the SSR decreased in amplitude and increased in latency. Although plasma renin activity tended to increase with DBS OFF, its modification induced by postural changes and blood pressure values did not significantly differ with DBS ON and OFF. We conclude that DBS of the STN in PD, besides inducing a clinical improvement, induces several non-motor effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / physiopathology
  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Brain Stem / physiopathology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / physiology
  • Masseter Muscle / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Conduction / physiology
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Subthalamic Nucleus / pathology
  • Subthalamic Nucleus / physiopathology*
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiopathology