Parkinsonism is associated with major changes in neuronal activity throughout the cortico-basal ganglia loop. Current measures quantify changes in baseline neuronal and network activity but do not capture alterations in information propagation throughout the system. Here, we applied a novel non-invasive magnetic stimulation approach using a custom-made mini-coil that enabled us to study transmission of neuronal activity throughout the cortico-basal ganglia loop in both normal and parkinsonian primates. By magnetically perturbing cortical activity while simultaneously recording neuronal responses along the cortico-basal ganglia loop, we were able to directly investigate modifications in descending cortical activity transmission. We found that in both the normal and parkinsonian states, cortical neurons displayed similar multi-phase firing rate modulations in response to magnetic stimulation. However, in the basal ganglia, large synaptically driven stereotypic neuronal modulation was present in the parkinsonian state that was mostly absent in the normal state. The stimulation-induced neuronal activity pattern highlights the change in information propagation along the cortico-basal ganglia loop. Our findings thus point to the role of abnormal dynamic activity transmission rather than changes in baseline activity as a major component in parkinsonian pathophysiology. Moreover, our results hint that the application of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in human patients of different disorders may result in different neuronal effects than the one induced in normal subjects.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by an Israel Science Foundation (ISF) Converging Technologies grant (1698-07) and a Legacy Heritage Biomedical Program of the ISF grant (981/10).
- Basal ganglia
- Motor cortex
- Parkinson's disease
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)