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Parkinsonian gait effects with DBS are associated with pallido-peduncular axis activation

By Mojgan Goftari, Chiahao Lu, Megan Schmidt, RĂ©mi Patriat, Tara Palnitkar, Jiwon Kim, Noam Harel, Matthew D Johnson, Scott E Cooper

Posted 15 Oct 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.10.13.464270

Background: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) targeting the subthalamic nucleus (STN) often shows variable outcomes on treating gait dysfunction in Parkinson's disease (PD). Such variability may stem from which specific neuronal pathways are modulated by DBS and the extent to which those pathways are modulated relative to one another. Objective: Leveraging ultra-high-field (7T) imaging data and subject-specific computational models, this study investigated how activation of seven distinct pathways in and around STN, including the pallidopeduncular and pedunculopallidal pathways, affect step length at clinically-optimized STN-DBS settings. Methods: Personalized computational models were developed for 10 subjects with a clinical diagnosis of PD and with bilateral STN-DBS implants. Results: The subject-specific pathway activation models showed a significant positive association between activation of the pedunculopallidal pathway and increased step length, and negative association on step length with pallidopeduncular pathway and hyperdirect pathway activation. Conclusions: The STN region includes multiple pathways, including fibers of passage to and from the mesencephalic locomotor area. Future clinical optimization of STN-DBS should consider these fibers of passage in the context of treating parkinsonian gait.

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