Opposite motor effects of pallidal stimulation in Parkinson's disease

Ann Neurol. 1998 Feb;43(2):180-92. doi: 10.1002/ana.410430208.


We studied the effects--on parkinsonian signs, on levodopa-induced dyskinesias, and on levodopa response--of acute experimental high-frequency stimulation of the internal pallidum (GPi) during off-drug and on-drug phases. Thirteen quadripolar electrodes were evaluated in 8 patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). Stimulation of the most ventral contacts, lying at the ventral margin of or just below the GPi, led to pronounced improvement in rigidity and a complete arrest of levodopa-induced dyskinesias. The antiakinetic effect of levodopa was also blocked and the patients became severely akinetic. Stimulation of the most dorsal contacts, lying at the dorsal border of the GPi or inside the external pallidum, usually led to moderate improvement of off-drug akinesia and could also induce dyskinesias in some patients. When using an intermediate contact for chronic stimulation, a good compromise between these opposite effects was usually obtained, mimicking the effect of pallidotomy. We conclude that there are at least two different functional zones within the globus pallidus, at the basis of a different pathophysiology of the cardinal symptoms of PD. The opposite effects may explain the variable results of pallidal surgery reported in the literature and may also largely explain the paradox of PD surgery. A possible anatomical basis for these differential functional effects could be a functional somatotopy within the GPi, with the segregation of the pallidofugal fibers from the outer portion of the GPi, on one hand, forming the ventral ansa lenticularis and from the inner portion of the GPi, on the other hand, forming the dorsal lenticular fasciculus.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apomorphine / administration & dosage
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Globus Pallidus / anatomy & histology
  • Globus Pallidus / physiopathology*
  • Globus Pallidus / surgery
  • Humans
  • Levodopa / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement Disorders / physiopathology
  • Movement Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Stereotaxic Techniques
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Levodopa
  • Apomorphine