Investigations of local field potentials of the subthalamic nucleus of patients with Parkinson's disease have provided evidence for pathologically exaggerated oscillatory beta-band activity (13-30 Hz) which is amenable to physiological modulation by, e.g., voluntary movement. Previous functional magnetic resonance imaging studies in healthy controls have provided evidence for an increase of subthalamic nucleus blood-oxygenation-level-dependant signal in incremental force generation tasks. However, the modulation of neuronal activity by force generation and its relationship to peripheral feedback remain to be elucidated. We hypothesised that beta-band activity in the subthalamic nucleus is modulated by incremental force generation. Subthalamic nucleus local field potentials were recorded intraoperatively in 13 patients with Parkinson's disease (37 recording sites) during rest and five incremental isometric force generation conditions of the arm with applied loads of 0-400 g (in 100-g increments). Repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed a modulation of local field potential (LFP) power in the upper beta-band (in 24-30 Hz; F(₃.₀₄₂)=4.693, p=0.036) and the gamma-band (in 70-76 Hz; F(₄)=4.116, p=0.036). Granger-causality was computed with the squared partial directed coherence and showed no significant modulation during incremental isometric force generation. Our findings indicate that the upper beta- and gamma-band power of subthalamic nucleus local field potentials are modulated by the physiological task of force generation in patients with Parkinson's disease. This modulation seems to be not an effect of a modulation of peripheral feedback.
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