Deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2003 Dec;13(6):696-706. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2003.11.001.


Deep brain stimulation at high frequency was first used in 1997 to replace thalamotomy in treating the characteristic tremor of Parkinson's disease, and has subsequently been applied to the pallidum and the subthalamic nucleus. The subthalamic nucleus is a key node in the functional control of motor activity in the basal ganglia. Its inhibition suppresses symptoms in animal models of Parkinson's disease, and high frequency chronic stimulation does the same in human patients. Acute and long-term results after deep brain stimulation show a dramatic and stable improvement of a patient's clinical condition, which mimics the effects of levodopa treatment. The mechanism of action may involve a functional disruption of the abnormal neural messages associated with the disease. Long-term changes, neural plasticity and neural protection might be induced in the network. Similar effects of stimulation and lesioning have led to the extension of this technique for other targets and diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Electric Stimulation Therapy*
  • Globus Pallidus / surgery
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease / surgery*
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Subthalamic Nucleus / surgery