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Dynamics of tremor-related oscillations in the human globus pallidus: A single case study

The National Academy of Sciences
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  • Biological Sciences
  • Medicine


Physiological evidence indicates that the resting tremor of Parkinson’s disease originates in oscillatory neural activity in the forebrain, but it is unknown whether that activity is globally synchronized or consists of parallel, independently oscillating circuits. In the present study, we used dual microelectrodes to record tremor-related neuronal activity from eight sites in the internal segment of the globus pallidus (GPi) from an awake Parkinson’s disease patient undergoing stereotaxic pallidotomy. We utilized spectral analysis to evaluate the temporal correlations between multiunit activity at spatially separated sites and between neural and limb electromyographic activity. We observed that some GPi neural pairs oscillated synchronously at the tremor frequency, whereas other neural pairs oscillated independently. Additionally, we found that GPi tremor-related activity at a given site could fluctuate between states of synchronization and independence with respect to upper limb tremor. Consistent with this finding, some paired recording sites within GPi showed periods of transient synchronization. These observations support the hypothesis of independent tremor-generating circuits whose coupling can fluctuate over time.

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