Behavioral disturbances have been reported with subthalamic (STN) deep brain stimulation (DBS) treatment in Parkinson's disease (PD). We report correlative functional imaging (fMRI) of mood and motor responses induced by successive right and left DBS. A 36-year-old woman with medically refractory PD and a history of clinically remitted depression underwent uncomplicated implantation of bilateral STN DBS. High-frequency stimulation of the left electrode improved motor symptoms. Unexpectedly, right DBS alone elicited several reproducible episodes of acute depressive dysphoria. Structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) imaging was carried out with sequential individual electrode stimulation. The electrode on the left was within the inferior STN, whereas the right electrode was marginally superior and lateral to the intended STN target within the Fields of Forel/zona incerta. fMRI image analysis (Analysis of Functional NeuroImages, AFNI) contrasting OFF versus ON stimulation identified significant lateralized blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal changes with DBS (P < 0.001). Left DBS primarily showed changes in motor regions: increases in premotor and motor cortex, ventrolateral thalamus, putamen, and cerebellum as well as decreases in sensorimotor/supplementary motor cortex. Right DBS showed similar but less extensive change in motor regions. More prominent were the unique increases in superior prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate (Brodmann's area [BA] 24), anterior thalamus, caudate, and brainstem, and marked widespread decreases in medial prefrontal cortex (BA 9/10). The mood disturbance resolved spontaneously in 4 weeks despite identical stimulation parameters. Transient depressive mood induced by subcortical DBS stimulation was correlated with changes in mesolimbic cortical structures. This case provides new evidence supporting cortical segregation of motor and nonmotor cortico-basal ganglionic systems that may converge in close proximity at the level of the STN and the adjacent white matter tracts (Fields of Forel/zona incerta).
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