Subthalamic deep brain stimulation increases pallidal firing rate and regularity

Exp Neurol. 2011 Jun;229(2):517-21. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2011.01.020. Epub 2011 Feb 15.


While high-frequency stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN-HFS) is highly effective in the treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD), the mechanisms underlying its therapeutic action remain unclear. Here, we report changes of single-neuron pallidal activity during STN-HFS in a parkinsonian patient. STN-HFS increased firing rate in both segments of the pallidum. Neurons displayed time-locked responses to stimulation pulses, with an early excitation followed by inhibition and late excitation. Finally, pallidal neurons fired more regularly during STN-HFS. The time-locked responses and increased firing regularity may override abnormally patterned pallidal activity, and thereby significantly contribute to the clinical efficacy of STN-HFS in PD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Deep Brain Stimulation*
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Globus Pallidus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy
  • Subthalamic Nucleus / physiology*