What is the true discharge rate and pattern of the striatal projection neurons in parkinson’s disease and dystonia?

Dan Valsky, Shai Heiman Grosberg, Zvi Israel, Thomas Boraud, Hagai Bergman, Marc Deffains*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Dopamine and striatal dysfunctions play a key role in the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Dystonia, but our understanding of the changes in the discharge rate and pattern of striatal projection neurons (SPNs) remains limited. Here, we recorded and examined multi-unit signals from the striatum of PD and dystonic patients undergoing deep brain stimulation surgeries. Contrary to earlier human findings, we found no drastic changes in the spontaneous discharge of the well-isolated and stationary SPNs of the PD patients compared to the dystonic patients or to the normal levels of striatal activity reported in healthy animals. Moreover, cluster analysis using SPN discharge properties did not characterize two well-separated SPN subpopulations, indicating no SPN subpopulation-specific (D1 or D2 SPNs) discharge alterations in the pathological state. Our results imply that small to moderate changes in spontaneous SPN discharge related to PD and Dystonia are likely amplified by basal ganglia downstream structures.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere57445
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Andreas Horn and Simon Oxenford for their assistance in illustrating the group-based microelectrode track trajectories using Lead-DBS software, Atira Bick for pre-and post-operative imaging, Esther Singer for editing the manuscript and the patients for agreement to participate in the study and authorizing the use of their electrophysiological recordings. This study was supported by the European Research Council (ERC), Rosetrees, Israel Science Foundation (ISF) and Israel Authority for Innovation grants to HB, and the French National Research Agency (ANR) and the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) to MD.

Publisher Copyright:
© Valsky et al.


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