Mapping dysfunctional circuits in the frontal cortex using deep brain stimulation

Nat Neurosci. 2024 Mar;27(3):573-586. doi: 10.1038/s41593-024-01570-1. Epub 2024 Feb 22.


Frontal circuits play a critical role in motor, cognitive and affective processing, and their dysfunction may result in a variety of brain disorders. However, exactly which frontal domains mediate which (dys)functions remains largely elusive. We studied 534 deep brain stimulation electrodes implanted to treat four different brain disorders. By analyzing which connections were modulated for optimal therapeutic response across these disorders, we segregated the frontal cortex into circuits that had become dysfunctional in each of them. Dysfunctional circuits were topographically arranged from occipital to frontal, ranging from interconnections with sensorimotor cortices in dystonia, the primary motor cortex in Tourette's syndrome, the supplementary motor area in Parkinson's disease, to ventromedial prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Our findings highlight the integration of deep brain stimulation with brain connectomics as a powerful tool to explore couplings between brain structure and functional impairments in the human brain.

MeSH terms

  • Brain
  • Brain Mapping
  • Deep Brain Stimulation*
  • Humans
  • Motor Cortex* / physiology
  • Parkinson Disease* / therapy