Consistent linear and non-linear responses to invasive electrical brain stimulation across individuals and primate species with implanted electrodes

Brain Stimul. Jul-Aug 2019;12(4):877-892. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2019.03.007. Epub 2019 Mar 11.


Background: Electrical neuromodulation via implanted electrodes is used in treating numerous neurological disorders, yet our knowledge of how different brain regions respond to varying stimulation parameters is sparse.

Objective/hypothesis: We hypothesized that the neural response to electrical stimulation is both region-specific and non-linearly related to amplitude and frequency.

Methods: We examined evoked neural responses following 400 ms trains of 10-400 Hz electrical stimulation ranging from 0.1 to 10 mA. We stimulated electrodes implanted in cingulate cortex (dorsal anterior cingulate and rostral anterior cingulate) and subcortical regions (nucleus accumbens, amygdala) of non-human primates (NHP, N = 4) and patients with intractable epilepsy (N = 15) being monitored via intracranial electrodes. Recordings were performed in prefrontal, subcortical, and temporal lobe locations.

Results: In subcortical regions as well as dorsal and rostral anterior cingulate cortex, response waveforms depended non-linearly on frequency (Pearson's linear correlation r < 0.39), but linearly on current (r > 0.58). These relationships between location, and input-output characteristics were similar in homologous brain regions with average Pearson's linear correlation values r > 0.75 between species and linear correlation values between participants r > 0.75 across frequency and current values per brain region. Evoked waveforms could be described by three main principal components (PCs) which allowed us to successfully predict response waveforms across individuals and across frequencies using PC strengths as functions of current and frequency using brain region specific regression models.

Conclusions: These results provide a framework for creation of an atlas of input-output relationships which could be used in the principled selection of stimulation parameters per brain region.

Keywords: Cingulate cortex; Current; Frequency; Intracranial; Local field potential; Neuromodulation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amygdala / diagnostic imaging
  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / instrumentation
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / methods*
  • Electrodes, Implanted / trends*
  • Female
  • Gyrus Cinguli / diagnostic imaging
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nucleus Accumbens / diagnostic imaging
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology*
  • Primates
  • Species Specificity
  • Stereotaxic Techniques / trends