Spinal cord stimulation alleviates motor deficits in a primate model of Parkinson disease.

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Although deep brain electrical stimulation can alleviate the motor symptoms of Parkinson disease (PD), just a small fraction of patients with PD can take advantage of this procedure due to its invasive nature. A significantly less invasive method-epidural spinal cord stimulation (SCS)-has been suggested as an alternative approach for symptomatic treatment of PD. However, the mechanisms underlying motor improvements through SCS are unknown. Here, we show that SCS reproducibly alleviates motor deficits in a primate model of PD. Simultaneous neuronal recordings from multiple structures of the cortico-basal ganglia-thalamic loop in parkinsonian monkeys revealed abnormal highly synchronized neuronal activity within each of these structures and excessive functional coupling among them. SCS disrupted this pathological circuit behavior in a manner that mimics the effects caused by pharmacological dopamine replacement therapy or deep brain stimulation. These results suggest that SCS should be considered as an additional treatment option for patients with PD.


  • Maxwell B Santana
  • Pär Halje
  • Hougelle Simplício
  • Ulrike Richter
  • Marco Aurelio M Freire
  • Per Petersson
  • Romulo Fuentes
  • Miguel A L Nicolelis
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Neurosciences
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)716-722
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch

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