Interhemispheric functional interactions between the subthalamic nuclei of patients with Parkinson's disease

Eur J Neurosci. 2014 Oct;40(8):3273-83. doi: 10.1111/ejn.12686. Epub 2014 Sep 5.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterized by widespread neural interactions in cortico-basal-ganglia networks primarily in beta oscillations (approx. 10-30 Hz), as suggested by previous findings of levodopa-modulated interhemispheric coherence between the bilateral subthalamic nuclei (STN) in local field potential recordings (LFPs). However, due to confounding effects of volume conduction the existence of 'genuine' interhemispheric subcortical coherence remains an open question. To address this issue we utilized the imaginary part of coherency (iCOH) which, in contrast to the standard coherence, is not susceptible to volume conduction. LFPs were recorded from eight patients with PD during wakeful rest before and after levodopa administration. We demonstrated genuine coherence between the bilateral STN in both 10-20 and 21-30 Hz oscillations, as revealed by a non-zero iCOH. Crucially, increased iCOH in 10-20 Hz oscillations positively correlated with the worsening of motor symptoms in the OFF medication condition across patients, which was not the case for standard coherence. Furthermore, across patients iCOH was increased after levodopa administration in 21-30 Hz oscillations. These results suggest a functional distinction between low and high beta oscillations in STN-LFP in line with previous studies. Furthermore, the observed functional coupling between the bilateral STN might contribute to the understanding of bilateral effects of unilateral deep brain stimulation. In conclusion, the present results imply a significant contribution of time-delayed neural interactions to interhemispheric coherence, and the clinical relevance of long-distance neural interactions between bilateral STN for motor symptoms in PD.

Keywords: basal ganglia; coherence; deep brain stimulation; levodopa; neural oscillations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Beta Rhythm*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Subthalamic Nucleus / physiopathology*