Neurophysiological changes in the basal ganglia thalamo-cortical circuit associated with the development of parkinsonian motor signs remain poorly understood. Theoretical models have ranged from those emphasizing changes in mean discharge rate to increased oscillatory activity within the beta range. The present study characterized neuronal activity within and across the internal and external segments of the globus pallidus as a function of motor severity using a staged, progressively severe 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine model of Parkinsonism in three rhesus monkeys. An increase in coherence between neuronal pairs across the external and internal globus pallidus was present in multiple frequency bands in the parkinsonian state; both the peak frequency of oscillatory coherence and the variability were reduced in the parkinsonian state. The incidence of 8-20Hz oscillatory activity in the internal globus pallidus increased with the progression of the disease when pooling the data across the three animals; however it did not correlate with motor severity when assessed individually and increased progressively in only one of three animals. No systematic relationship between mean discharge rates or the incidence or structure of bursting activity and motor severity was observed. These data suggest that exaggerated coupling across pallidal segments contribute to the development of the parkinsonian state by inducing an exaggerated level of synchrony and loss of focusing within the basal ganglia. These data further point to the lack of a defined relationship between rate changes, the mere presence of oscillatory activity in the beta range and bursting activity in the basal ganglia to the motor signs of Parkinson's disease.
Keywords: Basal ganglia; Oscillations; Parkinson's disease; Pathophysiology; Synchronization.
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