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Exp Brain Res. 2016 Apr;234(4):1133-43. doi: 10.1007/s00221-015-4531-2. Epub 2016 Jan 12.

In Parkinson's disease on a probabilistic Go/NoGo task deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus only interferes with withholding of the most prepotent responses.

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Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, UCL Institute of Neurology, 33 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3BG, UK.
Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Danube University, Dr.-Karl-Dorrek-Straße 30, 3500, Krems, Austria.
Behavioural Neurology Unit, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, 10 Centre Dr., MSC 1440, Bethesda, MD, 20892-1440, USA.
Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, UCL Institute of Neurology, 33 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3BG, UK.


The evidence on the impact of subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (STN-DBS) on action restraint on Go/NoGO reaction time (RT) tasks in Parkinson's disease (PD) is inconsistent; with some studies reporting no effect and others finding that STN stimulation interferes with withholding of responses and results in more commission errors relative to STN-DBS off. We used a task in which the probability of Go stimuli varied from 100% (simple RT task) to 80, 50 and 20% (probabilistic Go/NoGo RT task), thus altering the prepotency of the response and the difficulty in withholding it on NoGo trials. Twenty PD patients with STN-DBS, ten unoperated PD patients and ten healthy controls participated in the study. All participants were tested twice; the order of on versus off stimulation for STN-DBS PD patients was counterbalanced. Both STN-DBS and unoperated PD patients were tested on medication. The results indicated that STN-DBS selectively decreased discriminability when the response was most prepotent (high--80%, as compared to low Go probability trials--50 and 20%). Movement times were faster with STN stimulation than with DBS off across different Go probability levels. There was neither an overall nor a selective effect of STN-DBS on RTs depending on the level of Go probability. Furthermore, compared to healthy controls, both STN-DBS and unoperated PD patients were more prone to making anticipatory errors; which was not influenced by STN stimulation. The results provide evidence for 'load-dependent' effects of STN stimulation on action restraint as a function of the prepotency of the Go response.


Deep brain stimulation (DBS); Go/NoGo task; Load-dependent effects; Parkinson’s disease (PD); Prepotency; Subthalamic nucleus (STN)

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