Comparison of neuropathology in Parkinson's disease subjects with and without deep brain stimulation

Mov Disord. 2017 Feb;32(2):274-277. doi: 10.1002/mds.26882. Epub 2016 Dec 2.


Background: The aim of this postmortem study was to compare, in Parkinson's disease subjects with and without bilateral subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (STN-DBS), the loss of pigmented neurons within the substantia nigra and pathological alpha-synuclein density within the SN and other brain regions.

Methods: PD subjects were identified from the Arizona Study of Aging and Neurodegenerative Disorders database (STN-DBS = 11, non-DBS = 156). Pigmented neuron loss scores within the substantia nigra as well as alpha-synuclein density scores within the substantia nigra and 9 other brain regions were compared, the latter individually and in summary as the Lewy body brain load score.

Results: DBS subjects had higher alpha-synuclein density scores within the substantia nigra, olfactory bulb, and locus ceruleus, as well as higher total Lewy body brain load scores when compared with non-DBS subjects. No differences in substantia nigra pigmented neuron loss scores were found.

Conclusions: STN-DBS subjects tend to have higher alpha-synuclein density scores, but do not have a differential loss of substantia nigra pigmented neurons. © 2016 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

Keywords: Lewy body; Parkinson's disease; alpha-synuclein; deep brain stimulation; subthalamic nucleus.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Deep Brain Stimulation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Locus Coeruleus / metabolism
  • Locus Coeruleus / pathology
  • Male
  • Olfactory Bulb / metabolism
  • Olfactory Bulb / pathology
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism*
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology*
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy
  • Substantia Nigra / metabolism*
  • Substantia Nigra / pathology*
  • Subthalamic Nucleus
  • alpha-Synuclein / metabolism*


  • alpha-Synuclein