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Exp Neurol. 2013 Oct;248:183-6. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2013.05.018. Epub 2013 Jun 10.

Oscillatory activity in the human basal ganglia: more than just beta, more than just Parkinson's disease.

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Neurophysiology Laboratory, Neurosciences Area, CIMA, University of Navarra, Avenida Pío XII, 55, 31008 Pamplona, Spain. Electronic address:


The implantation of deep brain stimulators in different structures of the basal ganglia to treat neurological and psychiatric diseases has allowed the recording of local field potential activity in these structures. The analysis of these signals has helped our understanding of basal ganglia physiology in health and disease. However, there remain some major challenges and questions for the future. In a recent work, Tan et al. (Tan, H., Pogosyan, A., Anam, A., Foltynie, T., Limousin, P., Zrinzo, L., et al. 2013. Frequency specific activity in subthalamic nucleus correlates with hand bradykinesia in Parkinson's disease. Exp. Neurol. 240,122-129) take profit of these recordings to study the changes in subthalamic oscillatory activity during the hold and release phases of a grasping paradigm, and correlate the changes in different frequency bands with performance parameters. They found that beta activity was related to the release phase, while force maintenance related most to theta and gamma/HFO activity. There was no significant effect of the motor state of the patient on this latter association. These findings suggest that the alterations in the oscillatory activity of the basal ganglia in Parkinson's disease are not limited to the beta band, and they involve aspects different from movement preparation and initiation. Additionally, these results highlight the usefulness of the combination of well-designed paradigms with recordings in off and on motor states (in Parkinson's disease), or in different pathologies, in order to understand not only the pathophysiology of the diseases affecting the patients, but also the normal physiology of the basal ganglia.

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