Parkinson's disease is known to result from basal ganglia dysfunction. Electrophysiological recordings in parkinsonian patients and animals have shown the emergence of abnormal synchronous oscillatory activity in the cortico-basal ganglia network in the pathological condition. In addition, previous studies pointed out an altered response pattern during movement execution in the pallidum of parkinsonian animals. To investigate the dynamics of these changes during disease progression and to relate them to the onset of the motor symptoms, we recorded spontaneous and movement-related neuronal activity in the internal pallidum of nonhuman primates during a progressive dopamine depletion process. Parkinsonian motor symptoms appeared progressively during the intoxication protocol, at the end of which both animals displayed severe akinesia, rigidity and postural abnormalities. Spontaneous firing rates did not vary significantly after intoxication. During the early phase of the protocol, voluntary movements were significantly slowed down and delayed. At the same time, the neuronal response to movement execution was modified and inhibitory responses disappeared. In contrast, the unitary and collective dynamic properties of spontaneous neuronal activity, as revealed by spectral and correlation analysis, remained unchanged during this period. Spontaneous correlated activity increased later, after animals became severely bradykinetic, whereas synchronous oscillatory activity appeared only after major motor symptoms developed. Thus, a causality between the emergence of synchronous oscillations in the pallidum and main parkinsonian motor symptoms seems unlikely. The pathological disruption of movement-related activity in the basal ganglia appears to be a better correlate at least to bradykinesia and stands as the best candidate to account for this motor symptom.