BackgroundPrepulse inhibition (PPI) of the acoustic startle response, a measurement of sensorimotor gaiting, is modulated by monoaminergic, presumably dopaminergic neurotransmission. Disturbances of the dopaminergic system can cause deficient PPI as found in neuropsychiatric diseases. A target specific influence of deep brain stimulation (DBS) on PPI has been shown in animal models of neuropsychiatric disorders. In the present study, three patients with early dementia of Alzheimer type underwent DBS of the median forebrain bundle (MFB) in a compassionate use program to maintain cognitive abilities. This provided us the unique possibility to investigate the effects of different stimulation conditions of DBS of the MFB on PPI in humans.ResultsSeparate analysis of each patient consistently showed a frequency dependent pattern with a DBS-induced increase of PPI at 60 Hz and unchanged PPI at 20 or 130 Hz, as compared to sham stimulation.ConclusionsOur data demonstrate that electrical stimulation of the MFB modulates PPI in a frequency-dependent manner. PPI measurement could serve as a potential marker for optimization of DBS settings independent of the patient or the examiner.