Hyperactivity of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) is major characteristic of parkinsonism secondary to substantia nigra lesions. Interruption of the STN-internal pallidum (GPi) pathway is a new stereotactic target for Parkinson's disease.
We have studied the antiparkinsonian efficacy of STN lesions in MPTP-treated monkeys. Four rhesus monkeys were made parkinsonian by MPTP (i.v. 0.15 +/- 1 mg/kg) administration over 3 months. Unilateral subthalamotomy (kainic acid) was performed by a standard stereotactic method. Severity was rated from 0 (normal) to V by fine manual motor tests. Three monkeys (severity state III/IV) showed marked improvement in spontaneous activity, facial expression and manual dexterity bilaterally but significantly greater in the limb contralateral to the lesion. Mild hemichorea was present in 2 and hemiballism in one. L-Dopa treatment (50 mg b.i.d.) enhanced the hemidyskinesias moderately.
The therapeutic effect has persisted for over 8 months postsurgery. Monkey No.4 (severity stage V) showed chorea in the lower limb contralateral to the lesion but no improvement and died a few days later. Subthalamotomy improves parkinsonism in moderately severe parkinsonian monkeys. Dyskinesia might be a persistent complication.
CITATION Stereotact Funct Neurosurg. 1994;62(1-4):98-102