Mechanisms of deep brain stimulation: an intracellular study in rat thalamus.
High-frequency deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the thalamus alleviates most kinds of tremor, yet its mechanism of action is unknown. Studies in subthalamic nucleus and other brain sites have emphasized non-synaptic factors. To explore the mechanism underlying thalamic DBS, we simulated DBS in vitro by applying high-frequency (125 Hz) electrical stimulation directly into the sensorimotor thalamus of adult rat brain slices. Intracellular recordings revealed two distinct types of membrane responses, both of which were initiated with a depolarization and rapid spike firing. However, type 1 responses repolarized quickly and returned to quiescent baseline during simulated DBS whereas type 2 responses maintained the level of membrane depolarization, with or without spike firing. Individual thalamic neurones exhibited either type 1 or type 2 response but not both. In all neurones tested, simulated DBS-evoked membrane depolarization was reversibly eliminated by tetrodotoxin, glutamate receptor antagonists, and the Ca(2+) channel antagonist Cd(2+). Simulated DBS also increased the excitability of thalamic cells in the presence of glutamate receptor blockade, although this non-synaptic effect induced no spontaneous firing such as that found in subthalamic nucleus neurones. Our data suggest that high-frequency stimulation when applied in the ventral thalamus can rapidly disrupt local synaptic function and neuronal firing thereby leading to a 'functional deafferentation' and/or 'functional inactivation'. These mechanisms, driven primarily by synaptic activation, help to explain the paradox that lesions, muscimol and DBS in thalamus all effectively stop tremor. (+info)
Electron microscopy of tissue adherent to explanted electrodes in dystonia and Parkinson's disease.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is used to treat a variety of severe medically intractable movement disorders, including Parkinson's disease, tremor and dystonia. There have been few studies examining the effect of chronic DBS on the brains of Parkinson's disease patients. Most of these post mortem studies concluded that chronic DBS caused mild gliosis around the lead track and did not damage brain tissue. There have been no similar histopathological studies on brains from dystonic patients who have undergone DBS. In this study, our objective was to discover whether tissue would be attached to DBS electrodes removed from patients for routine clinical reasons. We hoped that by examining explanted DBS electrodes using scanning (SEM) and/or transmission (TEM) electron microscopy we might visualize any attached tissue and thus understand the electrode-human brain tissue interaction more accurately. Initially, SEM was performed on one control DBS electrode that had not been implanted. Then 21 (one subthalamic nucleus and 20 globus pallidus internus) explanted DBS electrodes were prepared, after fixation in 3% glutaraldehyde, for SEM (n = 9) or TEM (n = 10), or both (n = 2), according to departmental protocol. The electrodes were sourced from two patients with Parkinson's disease, one with myoclonic dystonia, two with cervical dystonia and five with primary generalized dystonia, and had been in situ for 11 and 31 months (Parkinson's disease), 16 months (myoclonic dystonia), 14 and 24 months (cervical dystonia) and 3-24 months (primary generalized dystonia). Our results showed that a foreign body multinucleate giant cell-type reaction was present in all TEM samples and in SEM samples, prewashed to remove surface blood and fibrin, regardless of the diagnosis. Some of the giant cells were >100 microm in diameter and might have originated from either fusion of parenchymal microglia, resident perivascular macrophage precursors and/or monocytes/macrophages invading from the blood stream. The presence of mononuclear macrophages containing lysosomes and sometimes having conspicuous filopodia was detected by TEM. Both types of cell contained highly electron-dense inclusions, which probably represent phagocytosed material. Similar material, the exact nature of which is unknown, was also seen in the vicinity of these cells. This reaction was present irrespective of the duration of implantation and may be a response to the polyurethane component of the electrodes' surface coat. These findings may be relevant to our understanding of the time course of the clinical response to DBS in Parkinson's disease and various forms of dystonia, as well as contributing to the design characteristics of future DBS electrodes. (+info)
Patients with lesions in posterior parietal cortex (PPC) are relatively unimpaired in voluntarily directing visual attention to different spatial locations, while many neuroimaging studies in healthy subjects suggest dorsal PPC involvement in this function. We used an offline repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) protocol to study this issue further. Ten healthy participants performed a cue-target paradigm. Cues prompted covert orienting of spatial attention under voluntary control to either a left or right visual field position. Targets were flashed subsequently at the cued or uncued location, or bilaterally. Following rTMS over right dorsal PPC, (i) the benefit for target detection at cued versus uncued positions was preserved irrespective of cueing direction (left- or rightward), but (ii) leftward cueing was associated with a global impairment in target detection, at all target locations. This reveals that leftward orienting was still possible after right dorsal PPC stimulation, albeit at an increased overall cost for target detection. In addition, rTMS (iii) impaired left, but (iv) enhanced right target detection after rightward cueing. The finding of a global drop in target detection during leftward orienting with a spared, relative detection benefit at the cued (left) location (i-ii) suggests that right dorsal PPC plays a subsidiary rather than pivotal role in voluntary spatial orienting. This finding reconciles seemingly conflicting results from patients and neuroimaging studies. The finding of attentional inhibition and enhancement occurring contra- and ipsilaterally to the stimulation site (iii-iv) supports the view that spatial attention bias can be selectively modulated through rTMS, which has proven useful to transiently reduce visual hemispatial neglect. (+info)
Microstimulation of the superior colliculus focuses attention without moving the eyes.
The superior colliculus (SC) is part of a network of brain areas that directs saccadic eye movements, overtly shifting both gaze and attention from position to position, in space. Here, we seek direct evidence that the SC also contributes to the control of covert spatial attention, a process that focuses attention on a region of space different from the point of gaze. While requiring monkeys to keep their gaze fixed, we tested whether microstimulation of a specific location in the SC spatial map would enhance visual performance at the corresponding region of space, a diagnostic measure of covert attention. We find that microstimulation improves performance in a spatially selective manner: thresholds decrease at the location in visual space represented by the stimulated SC site, but not at a control location in the opposite hemifield. Our data provide direct evidence that the SC contributes to the control of covert spatial attention. (+info)
Different patterns of medication change after subthalamic or pallidal stimulation for Parkinson's disease: target related effect or selection bias?
BACKGROUND: Bilateral subthalamic nucleus (STN) deep brain stimulation (DBS) is favoured over bilateral globus pallidus internus (Gpi) DBS for symptomatic treatment of advanced Parkinson's disease (PD) due to the possibility of reducing medication, despite lack of definitive comparative evidence. OBJECTIVE: To analyse outcomes after one year of bilateral Gpi or STN DBS, with consideration of influence of selection bias on the pattern of postsurgical medication change. METHODS: The first patients to undergo bilateral Gpi (n = 10) or STN (n = 10) DBS at our centre were studied. They were assessed presurgically and one year after surgery (CAPIT protocol). RESULTS: Before surgery the Gpi DBS group had more dyskinesias and received lower doses of medication. At one year, mean reduction in UPDRS off medication score was 35% and 39% in the Gpi and STN groups, respectively (non-significant difference). Dyskinesias reduced in proportion to presurgical severity. The levodopa equivalent dose was significantly reduced only in the STN group (24%). This study high-lights the absence of significant differences between the groups in clinical scales and medication dose at one year. In the multivariate analysis of predictive factors for off-state motor improvement, the presurgical levodopa equivalent dose showed a direct relation in the STN and an inverse relation in the Gpi group. CONCLUSION: Differences in the patterns of medication change after Gpi and STN DBS may be partly due to a patient selection bias. Both procedures may be equally useful for different subgroups of patients with advanced PD, Gpi DBS especially for patients with lower threshold for dyskinesia. (+info)
Subthalamic nucleus stimulation in tremor dominant parkinsonian patients with previous thalamic surgery.
Before the introduction of high frequency stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN), many disabled tremor dominant parkinsonian patients underwent lesioning or chronic electrical stimulation of the thalamus. We studied the effects of STN stimulation in patients with previous ventral intermediate nucleus (VIM) surgery whose motor state worsened. Fifteen parkinsonian patients were included in this study: nine with unilateral and two with bilateral VIM stimulation, three with unilateral thalamotomy, and one with both unilateral thalamotomy and contralateral VIM stimulation. The clinical evaluation consisted of a formal motor assessment using the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) and neuropsychological tests encompassing a 50 point frontal scale, the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale, and the Beck Depression Inventory. The first surgical procedure was performed a mean (SD) of 8 (5) years after the onset of disease. STN implantation was carried out 10 (4) years later, and duration of follow up after beginning STN stimulation was 24 (20) months. The UPDRS motor score, tremor score, difficulties in performance of activities of daily living, and levodopa equivalent daily dose significantly decreased after STN stimulation. Neither axial symptoms nor neuropsychological status significantly worsened after the implantation of the STN electrodes. The parkinsonian motor state is greatly improved by bilateral STN stimulation even in patients with previous thalamic surgery, and STN stimulation is more effective than VIM stimulation in tremor dominant parkinsonian patients. (+info)
Comparisons between pharmacologically and Edinger-Westphal-stimulated accommodation in rhesus monkeys.
PURPOSE: Accommodation results in increased lens thickness and lens surface curvatures. Previous studies suggest that lens biometric accommodative changes are different with pharmacological and voluntary accommodation. In this study, refractive and biometric changes during Edinger-Westphal (EW) and pharmacologically stimulated accommodation in rhesus monkeys were compared. METHODS: Accommodation was stimulated by an indwelling permanent electrode in the EW nucleus of the midbrain in one eye each of four rhesus monkeys. Dynamic refractive changes were measured with infrared photorefraction, and lens biometric changes were measured with high-resolution, continuous A-scan ultrasonography for increasing stimulus current amplitudes, including supramaximal current amplitudes. Accommodation was then stimulated pharmacologically and biometry was measured continuously for 30 minutes. RESULTS: During EW-stimulated accommodation, lens surfaces move linearly with refraction, with an increase in lens thickness of 0.06 mm/D, an anterior movement of the anterior lens surface of 0.04 mm/D, and a posterior movement of the posterior lens surface of 0.02 mm/D. Peak velocity of accommodation (diopters per second) and lens thickness (in millimeters per second) increased with supramaximal stimulus currents, but without further increase in amplitude or total lens thickness. After carbachol stimulation, there was initially an anterior movement of the anterior lens surface and a posterior movement of the posterior lens surface; but by 30 minutes, there was an overall anterior shift of the lens. CONCLUSIONS: Ocular biometric changes differ with EW and pharmacological stimulation of accommodation. Pharmacological stimulation results in a greater increase in lens thickness, an overall forward movement of the lens and a greater change in dioptric power. (+info)
Hypothalamic stimulation in chronic cluster headache: a pilot study of efficacy and mode of action.
We enrolled six patients suffering from refractory chronic cluster headache in a pilot trial of neurostimulation of the ipsilateral ventroposterior hypothalamus using the stereotactic coordinates published previously. After the varying durations needed to determine optimal stimulation parameters and a mean follow-up of 14.5 months, the clinical outcome is excellent in three patients (two are pain-free; one has fewer than three attacks per month), but unsatisfactory in one patient, who only has had transient remissions. Mean voltage is 3.28 V, diplopia being the major factor limiting its increase. When the stimulator was switched off in one pain-free patient, attacks resumed after 3 months until it was turned on again. In one patient the implantation procedure had to be interrupted because of a panic attack with autonomic disturbances. Another patient died from an intracerebral haemorrhage that developed along the lead tract several hours after surgery; there were no other vascular changes on post-mortem examination. After 1 month, the hypothalamic stimulation induced resistance against the attack-triggering agent nitroglycerin and tended to increase pain thresholds at extracephalic, but not at cephalic, sites. It had no detectable effect on neurohypophyseal hormones or melatonin excretion. We conclude that hypothalamic stimulation has remarkable efficacy in most, but not all, patients with treatment-resistant chronic cluster headache. Its efficacy is not due to a simple analgesic effect or to hormonal changes. Intracerebral haemorrhage cannot be neglected in the risk evaluation of the procedure. Whether it might be more prevalent than in deep-brain stimulation for movement disorders remains to be determined. (+info)