Neuronal activity in the subthalamic nucleus (STN) of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterised by excessive neuronal synchronization, particularly in the beta frequency range. However, less is known about the temporal dynamics of neuronal oscillations in PD. In this respect long-range temporal correlations (LRTC) are of special interest as they quantify the neuronal dynamics on different timescales and have been shown to be relevant for optimal information processing in the brain. While the presence of LRTC has been demonstrated in cortical data, their existence in deep brain structures remains an open question. We investigated (i) whether LRTC are present in local field potentials (LFP) recorded bilaterally from the STN at wakeful rest in ten patients with PD after overnight withdrawal of levodopa (OFF) and (ii) whether LRTC can be modulated by levodopa treatment (ON). Detrended fluctuation analysis was utilised in order to quantify the temporal dynamics in the amplitude fluctuations of LFP oscillations. We demonstrated for the first time the presence of LRTC (extending up to 50 s) in the STN. Importantly, the ON state was characterised by significantly stronger LRTC than the OFF state, both in beta (13-35 Hz) and high-frequency (> 200 Hz) oscillations. The existence of LRTC in subcortical structures such as STN provides further evidence for their ubiquitous nature in the brain. The weaker LRTC in the OFF state might indicate limited information processing in the dopamine-depleted basal ganglia. The present results implicate LRTC as a potential biomarker of pathological neuronal processes in PD.
© 2012 The Authors. European Journal of Neuroscience © 2012 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.