Prefrontal-Subthalamic Hyperdirect Pathway Modulates Movement Inhibition in Humans

Neuron. 2020 May 20;106(4):579-588.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2020.02.012. Epub 2020 Mar 9.


The ability to dynamically change motor outputs, such as stopping an initiated response, is an important aspect of human behavior. A hyperdirect pathway between the inferior frontal gyrus and subthalamic nucleus is hypothesized to mediate movement inhibition, but there is limited evidence for this in humans. We recorded high spatial and temporal resolution field potentials from both the inferior frontal gyrus and subthalamic nucleus in 21 subjects. Cortical potentials evoked by subthalamic stimulation revealed short latency events indicative of monosynaptic connectivity between the inferior frontal gyrus and ventral subthalamic nucleus. During a stop signal task, stopping-related potentials in the cortex preceded stopping-related activity in the subthalamic nucleus, and synchronization between these task-evoked potentials predicted the stop signal reaction time. Thus, we show that a prefrontal-subthalamic hyperdirect pathway is present in humans and mediates rapid stopping. These findings may inform therapies to treat disorders featuring perturbed movement inhibition.

Keywords: Parkinson’s disease; electrocorticography; hyperdirect pathway; movement inhibition; prefrontal cortex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Electrocorticography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Subthalamic Nucleus / physiology*