Subthalamic Neurons Encode Both Single- and Multi-Limb Movements in Parkinson's Disease Patients

Ariel Tankus, Ido Strauss, Tanya Gurevich, Anat Mirelman, Nir Giladi, Itzhak Fried, Jeffrey M. Hausdorff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The subthalamic nucleus (STN) is the main target for neurosurgical treatment of motor signs of Parkinson's disease (PD). Despite the therapeutic effect on both upper and lower extremities, its role in motor control and coordination and its changes in Parkinson's disease are not fully clear. We intraoperatively recorded single unit activity in ten patients with PD who performed repetitive feet or hand movements while undergoing implantation of a deep brain stimulator. We found both distinct and overlapping representations of upper and lower extremity movement kinematics in subthalamic units and observed evidence for re-routing to a multi-limb representation that participates in limb coordination. The well-known subthalamic somatotopy showed a large overlap of feet and hand representations in the PD patients. This overlap and excessive amounts of kinematics or coordination units may reflect pathophysiology or compensatory mechanisms. Our findings thus explain, at the single neuron level, the important subthalamic role in motor control and coordination and indicate the effect of PD on the neuronal representation of movement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number42467
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
DOIs
StatePublished - 13 Feb 2017

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