Synchronizing activity of basal ganglia and pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease

G. Heimer*, M. Rivlin, Z. Israel, H. Bergman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Early physiological studies emphasized changes in the discharge rate of basal ganglia in the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease (PD), whereas recent studies stressed the role of the abnormal oscillatory activity and neuronal synchronization of pallidal cells. However, human observations cast doubt on the synchronization hypothesis since increased synchronization may be an epi-phenomenon of the tremor or of independent oscillators with similar frequency. Here, we show that modem actor/critic models of the basal ganglia predict the emergence of synchronized activity in PD and that significant non-oscillatory and oscillatory correlations are found in MPTP primates. We conclude that the normal fluctuation of basal ganglia dopamine levels combined with local cortico-striatal learning rules lead to non-correlated activity in the pallidum. Dopamine depletion, as in PD, results in correlated pallidal activity, and reduced information capacity. We therefore suggest that future deep brain stimulation (DBS) algorithms may be improved by desynchronizing pallidal activity.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)17-20
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission, Supplement
Issue number70
StatePublished - 2006


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