Altered neuronal activity relationships between the pedunculopontine nucleus and motor cortex in a rodent model of Parkinson's disease

Bhooma R. Aravamuthan, Debra A. Bergstrom, Robin A. French, Joseph J. Taylor, Louise C. Parr-Brownlie, Judith R. Walters

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41 Scopus citations


The pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) is a new deep brain stimulation (DBS) target for Parkinson's disease (PD), but little is known about PPN firing pattern alterations in PD. The anesthetized rat is a useful model for investigating the effects of dopamine loss on the transmission of oscillatory cortical activity through basal ganglia structures. After dopamine loss, synchronous oscillatory activity emerges in the subthalamic nucleus and substantia nigra pars reticulata in phase with cortical slow oscillations. To investigate the impact of dopamine cell lesion-induced changes in basal ganglia output on activity in the PPN, this study examines PPN spike timing with reference to motor cortex (MCx) local field potential (LFP) activity in urethane- or ketamine-anesthetized rats. Seven to ten days after unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine lesion of the medial forebrain bundle, spectral power in PPN spike trains and coherence between PPN spiking and PPN LFP activity increased in the ∼ 1 Hz range in urethane-anesthetized rats. PPN spike timing also changed from firing predominantly in phase with MCx slow oscillations in the intact urethane-anesthetized rat to firing predominantly antiphase to MCx oscillations in the hemi-parkinsonian rat. These changes were not observed in the ketamine-anesthetized preparation. These observations suggest that dopamine loss alters PPN spike timing by increasing inhibitory oscillatory input to the PPN from basal ganglia output nuclei, a phenomenon that may be relevant to motor dysfunction and PPN DBS efficacy in PD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-280
Number of pages13
JournalExperimental Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • Basal ganglia
  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Dopamine
  • Ketamine
  • Local field potential
  • Motor cortex
  • Oscillations
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Pedunculopontine nucleus
  • Urethane


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