Parkinsonian beta dynamics during rest and movement in the dorsal pallidum and subthalamic nucleus

Congratulations to Drs. Foote, Okun and Gunduz on your recent publication “Parkinsonian beta dynamics during rest and movement in the dorsal pallidum and subthalamic nucleus,” which was published in the Journal of Neuroscience’s February 27, 2020 issue.


In Parkinson’s disease (PD), pathologically high levels of beta activity (12-30 Hz) reflect specific symptomatology and normalize with pharmacological or surgical intervention. Although beta characterization in the subthalamic nucleus (STN) of PD patients undergoing deep brain stimulation (DBS) has now been translated into adaptive DBS paradigms, limited number of studies have characterized beta power in the globus pallidus internus (GPi), an equally effective DBS target. Our objective was to compare beta power in the STN and GPi during rest and movement in people with PD undergoing DBS. 37 human male and female participants completed a simple behavioral experiment — consisting of periods of rest and button presses — leading to LFP recordings from 19 (15 participants) STN and 26 (22 participants) GPi nuclei. We examined overall beta power as well as beta time-domain dynamics (i.e., beta bursts). We found higher beta power during rest and movement in the GPi, which also had more beta desynchronization during movement. Beta power was positively associated with bradykinesia and rigidity severity, however these clinical associations were present only in the GPi cohort. With regards to beta dynamics, bursts were similar in duration and frequency in the GPi and STN, but GPi bursts were stronger and correlated to bradykinesia-rigidity severity. Beta dynamics therefore differ across basal ganglia nuclei. Relative to the STN, beta in the GPi may be readily detected, modulates more with movement, and relates more to clinical impairment. Taken together, this could point to the GPi as a potentially effective target for beta-based adaptive DBS.