The impact of low-frequency stimulation of subthalamic region on self-generated isometric contraction in patients with Parkinson's disease

Exp Brain Res. 2013 May;227(1):53-62. doi: 10.1007/s00221-013-3484-6. Epub 2013 Mar 30.


Growing evidence suggests that spontaneous oscillatory low-frequency synchronization in the subthalamic nuclei (STN) may modulate motor performance in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). To explore this in more detail, 15 PD patients chronically implanted with deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrodes in both STN were stimulated bilaterally at 5, 10, 20, 50 and 130 Hz and the effects of the DBS on self-initiated isometric elbow flexion (FLEX) and finger pinch (PINCH) were compared to performance without DBS. Baseline performance was very much impaired. Peak force was significantly greater during 130 and 10 Hz stimulation when compared to no stimulation in both tasks. Cumulative sums of the changes in mean rising force and peak force in the two tasks upon stimulation at 10 and 20 Hz demonstrated that patients improved their performance on stimulation, except for those with the best performance off stimulation who deteriorated with stimulation at 20 Hz. Thus, no effect was detected with 20 Hz stimulation at the group level. The current study highlights the need to consider the baseline performance of a subject in a given task when determining the effects of low-frequency STN stimulation in PD patients. It also demonstrates that stimulation at 10 Hz can improve motor function in subjects with poor baseline function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Deep Brain Stimulation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Subthalamic Nucleus / physiopathology*
  • Subthalamus / physiopathology*
  • Treatment Outcome