Electroceutically induced subthalamic high-frequency oscillations and evoked compound activity may explain the mechanism of therapeutic stimulation in Parkinson's disease

Commun Biol. 2021 Mar 23;4(1):393. doi: 10.1038/s42003-021-01915-7.


Despite having remarkable utility in treating movement disorders, the lack of understanding of the underlying mechanisms of high-frequency deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a main challenge in choosing personalized stimulation parameters. Here we investigate the modulations in local field potentials induced by electrical stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) at therapeutic and non-therapeutic frequencies in Parkinson's disease patients undergoing DBS surgery. We find that therapeutic high-frequency stimulation (130-180 Hz) induces high-frequency oscillations (~300 Hz, HFO) similar to those observed with pharmacological treatment. Along with HFOs, we also observed evoked compound activity (ECA) after each stimulation pulse. While ECA was observed in both therapeutic and non-therapeutic (20 Hz) stimulation, the HFOs were induced only with therapeutic frequencies, and the associated ECA were significantly more resonant. The relative degree of enhancement in the HFO power was related to the interaction of stimulation pulse with the phase of ECA. We propose that high-frequency STN-DBS tunes the neural oscillations to their healthy/treated state, similar to pharmacological treatment, and the stimulation frequency to maximize these oscillations can be inferred from the phase of ECA waveforms of individual subjects. The induced HFOs can, therefore, be utilized as a marker of successful re-calibration of the dysfunctional circuit generating PD symptoms.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Waves*
  • Deep Brain Stimulation*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Subthalamic Nucleus / physiopathology*
  • Treatment Outcome