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Mov Disord. 2005 Feb;20(2):172-80.

The pallidosubthalamic projection: an anatomical substrate for nonmotor functions of the subthalamic nucleus in primates.

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INSERM U289, Neurologie et Thérapeutique Expérimentale, Hôpital de la Salpêtrière, Paris, France.


The subthalamic nucleus (STN) is the best target for correcting motor disability in parkinsonian patients with high-frequency stimulation. However, STN stimulation has also been reported to modify cognitive, emotional, and motivational functions. The aim of this study was to analyze the topographic organization of the STN according to its inputs coming from the sensorimotor, associative, and limbic territories of the external globus pallidus (GPe) in monkeys, with special reference to the limbic projection. Axonal tracers were injected into the different functional territories of the GPe. Injection performed in the limbic GPe resulted in labeling of cell bodies in the dorsal nucleus accumbens and in a dense labeling of axons in the anterior and medioventral portion of the STN. In comparison, injections in the associative and sensorimotor GPe led to labeling in the central and dorsolateral parts of the STN, respectively. Individual pallidosubthalamic axons ramified into numerous varicose branches, which were restricted to a given territory in the STN. These data provide a functional cartography of this structure in primates and suggest that behavioral disorders observed in stimulated parkinsonian patients could result from a dysfunction of the limbic part of the STN.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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