Cerebello-striatal interaction mediates effects of subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation in Parkinson's disease

Henrike Hanssen, Julia Steinhardt, Alexander Münchau, Arkan Al-Zubaidi, Elinor Tzvi, Marcus Heldmann, Peter Schramm, Alexander Neumann, Dirk Rasche, Assel Saryyeva, Jürgen Voges, Imke Galazky, Lars Büntjen, Hans Jochen Heinze, Joachim K. Krauss, Volker Tronnier, Thomas F. Münte, Norbert Brüggemann*

*Corresponding author for this work


Background: In Parkinson's disease (PD), dopamine replacement therapy (DRT) enhances the effective connectivity of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and supplementary motor area (SMA). The clinical effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) go beyond DRT effects including highly beneficial tremor suppression. Objectives: Here, we aimed to determine DBS-related changes of a motor network using resting state fMRI in PD patients with chronic STN DBS. Methods: In a repeated-measurement design, 26 medicated PD patients (60.9 years (SD 8.9)) were investigated using resting state fMRI while bipolar STN stimulation was (i) active or (ii) switched off, and dynamic causal modelling was subsequently performed. Results: DBS improved the MDS-UPDRS-III score by 26.4% (DBS ON/Med ON vs. DBS OFF/Med ON). Active stimulation resulted in an increased effective connectivity from cerebellum to putamen (p = 0.00118). In addition, there was a stronger coupling from PFC to cerebellum (p = 0.021), as well as from cerebellum to SMA (p = 0.043) on an uncorrected level. Coupling strength from PFC to cerebellum correlated with the DBS-related change of the resting tremor subscore (r = 0.54, p = 0.031). Self-connections increased as a function of DBS in the right PFC, PMC, SMA, M1, thalamus and left cerebellum. Conclusions: DBS-related improvement of Parkinsonian signs appears to be driven by an interaction between the cerebellum and the putamen. Resting tremor suppression may be related to an enhanced prefronto-cerebellar network. Activation of the mesial premotor loop (PFC-SMA) as seen in DRT may thus be secondary due to the primary modulation of cerebellar networks.

Original languageEnglish
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Pages (from-to)99-104
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 01.10.2019


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