Globus pallidus internus deep brain stimulation evokes resonant neural activity in Parkinson’s disease

Congratulations to Drs. Johnson, Kagel, Lopes, Wong, Okun, Shukla, Hilliard, Foote and de Hemptinne on the publication of your article Globus pallidus internus deep brain stimulation evokes resonant neural activity in Parkinson’s disease,” in the February 9th edition of Brain Communications.


Globus pallidus internus deep brain stimulation is an established therapy for patients with medication-refractory Parkinson’s disease. Clinical outcomes are highly dependent on applying stimulation to precise locations in the brain. However, robust neurophysiological markers are needed to determine the optimal electrode location and to guide postoperative stimulation parameter selection. In this study, we evaluated evoked resonant neural activity in the pallidum as a potential intraoperative marker to optimize targeting and stimulation parameter selection to improve outcomes of deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease.

Intraoperative local field potential recordings were acquired in 22 patients with Parkinson’s disease undergoing globus pallidus internus deep brain stimulation implantation (N = 27 hemispheres). A control group of patients undergoing implantation in the subthalamic nucleus (N = 4 hemispheres) for Parkinson’s disease or the thalamus for essential tremor (N = 9 patients) were included for comparison. High-frequency (135 Hz) stimulation was delivered from each electrode contact sequentially while recording the evoked response from the other contacts. Low-frequency stimulation (10 Hz) was also applied as a comparison. Evoked resonant neural activity features, including amplitude, frequency, and localization were measured and analyzed for correlation with empirically-derived postoperative therapeutic stimulation parameters.

Pallidal evoked resonant neural activity elicited by stimulation in the globus pallidus internus or externus was detected in 26 of 27 hemispheres and varied across hemispheres and across stimulating contacts within individual hemispheres. Bursts of high-frequency stimulation elicited evoked resonant neural activity with similar amplitudes (P = 0.9) but a higher frequency (P = 0.009) and a higher number of peaks (P = 0.004) than low-frequency stimulation. We identified a “hotspot” in the postero-dorsal pallidum where stimulation elicited higher evoked resonant neural activity amplitudes (P < 0.001). In 69.6% of hemispheres, the contact that elicited the maximum amplitude intraoperatively matched the contact empirically selected for chronic therapeutic stimulation by an expert clinician after 4 months of programming sessions. Pallidal and subthalamic nucleus evoked resonant neural activity were similar except for lower pallidal amplitudes. No evoked resonant neural activity was detected in the essential tremor control group.

Given its spatial topography and correlation with postoperative stimulation parameters empirically selected by expert clinicians, pallidal evoked resonant neural activity shows promise as a potential marker to guide intraoperative targeting and to assist the clinician with postoperative stimulation programming. Importantly, evoked resonant neural activity may also have the potential to guide directional and closed-loop deep brain stimulation programming for Parkinson’s disease.