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eNeuro. 2019 Sep 20. pii: ENEURO.0089-19.2019. doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0089-19.2019. [Epub ahead of print]

Beta frequency oscillations in the subthalamic nucleus are not sufficient for the development of symptoms of parkinsonian bradykinesia/akinesia in rats.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708.
Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC 27710.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708
Departments of Neurobiology & Neurosurgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710.


Substantial correlative evidence links the synchronized, oscillatory patterns of neural activity that emerge in Parkinson's disease (PD) in the beta frequency range (13-30Hz) with bradykinesia in PD. However, conflicting evidence exists, and whether these changes in neural activity are causal of motor symptoms in PD remains unclear. We tested the hypothesis that the synchronized beta oscillations that emerge in PD are causal of symptoms of bradykinesia/akinesia. We designed patterns of stimulation that mimicked the temporal characteristics of single unit beta bursting activity seen in PD animals and humans. We applied these beta-patterned stimulation patterns along with continuous low and high frequency controls to the subthalamic nucleus (STN) of intact and 6-OHDA lesioned female Long-Evans and Sprague-Dawley rats. Beta-patterned paradigms were superior to low frequency controls at induction of beta power in downstream substantia nigra reticulata (SNr) neurons and in ipsilateral motor cortex. However, we did not detect deleterious effects on motor performance across a wide battery of validated behavioral tasks. Our results suggest that beta frequency oscillations may not be sufficient for the generation of bradykinesia/akinesia in PD.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT We explored whether a causal link exists between the synchronized, 13-30Hz (beta band) oscillations that emerge in Parkinson's disease (PD) and symptoms of bradykinesia/akinesia. The results provide not only for a better understanding of disease pathophysiology but also offers insights into the development of improved and novel treatments for Parkinson's disease. Our study suggests that beta frequency oscillations are not causally related to bradykinesia/akinesia in PD.


Beta band oscillations; Bradykinesia; Parkinson’s disease

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Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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