Scientific publications

Coupling between beta and high-frequency activity in the human subthalamic nucleus may be a pathophysiological mechanism in Parkinson's disease

May 12, 2010 | Magazine: The Journal of Neuroscience

López-Azcárate J, Tainta M, Rodríguez-Oroz MC, Valencia M, González R, Guridi J, Iriarte J, Obeso JA, Artieda J, Alegre M.
Neuroscience Area, Centro de Investigación Médica Aplicada, Universidad de Navarra, 31008 Pamplona, Spain.


In Parkinson's disease (PD), the oscillatory activity recorded from the basal ganglia shows dopamine-dependent changes. In the "off" parkinsonian motor state, there is prominent activity in the beta band (12-30 Hz) that is mostly attenuated after dopaminergic therapy ("on" medication state). The on state is also characterized by activity in the gamma (60-80 Hz) and high-frequency (300 Hz) bands that is modulated by movement.

We recorded local field potentials from a group of 15 PD patients (three females) treated with bilateral deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus, using a high sampling rate (2 kHz) and filters suitable to study high-frequency activity (0.3-1000 Hz). We observed high-frequency oscillations (HFOs) in both the off and on motor states. In the off state, the amplitude of the HFOs was coupled to the phase of the abnormal beta activity.

The beta-coupled HFOs showed little or even negative movement-related changes in amplitude. Moreover, the degree of movement-related modulation of the HFOs correlated negatively with the rigidity/bradykinesia scores. In the on motor state, the HFOs were liberated from this beta coupling, and they displayed marked movement-related amplitude modulation. Cross-frequency interactions between the phase of slow activities and the amplitude of fast frequencies have been attributed an important role in information processing in cortical structures.

Our findings suggest that nonlinear coupling between frequencies may not only be a physiological mechanism (as shown previously) but also that it may participate in the pathophysiology of parkinsonism.

CITATION  J Neurosci. 2010 May 12;30(19):6667-77