Deep brain stimulation of globus pallidus interna, subthalamic nucleus, and pedunculopontine nucleus for Parkinson's disease: which target?

Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2012 Jan;18 Suppl 1:S165-7. doi: 10.1016/S1353-8020(11)70051-7.


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an accepted therapy for people with Parkinson's disease (PD) motor symptoms that are refractory to pharmacologic therapy. Standard DBS targets are globus pallidus interna (GPi) and subthalamic nucleus (STN). The pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) is being investigated as a novel target. Which target provides the best outcomes is unknown. The utility of GPi and STN as targets has been confirmed in numerous studies, including randomized comparisons of GPi DBS and STN DBS that demonstrated no difference in motor outcomes. DBS at either site improves appendicular motor symptoms, but beneficial effects on axial manifestations of PD such as postural instability or gait dysfunction (PIGD) are less apparent. PPN has been introduced as a DBS target due to failure of GPi and STN DBS to improve PIGD. Small observational studies indicate improved PIGD with PPN DBS, but small blinded trials show only subjective reduction in falls with no other impact on PIGD or other PD manifestations. No single DBS target is superior to the others. Each target offers relative advantages. Further studies are needed to better define the roles of each target, particularly PPN. Choice of target should be individualized according to providers' preferences and patients' needs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / methods*
  • Globus Pallidus / physiology*
  • Globus Pallidus / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Pedunculopontine Tegmental Nucleus / physiology*
  • Pedunculopontine Tegmental Nucleus / physiopathology
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods
  • Subthalamic Nucleus / physiology*
  • Subthalamic Nucleus / physiopathology