Abnormal oscillation in the brain causes motor deficits in Parkinson's disease

November 01, 2011

The research group headed by Professor Atsushi Nambu (The National Institute for Physiological Sciences) and Professor Masahiko Takada (Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University) has shown that the 'oscillatory' nature of electrical signals in subcortical nuclei, the basal ganglia, causes severe motor deficits in Parkinson's disease, by disturbing the information flow of motor commands. The group also found that chemical inactivation of the subthalamic nucleus (a structure of the basal ganglia) in parkinsonian monkeys improved the motor impairments by reducing the 'oscillations.' The results of this study were reported in European Journal of Neuroscience, November 2011 issue.

 A member of the research group, Assistant Professor Yoshihisa Tachibana, succeeded to record electrical signals in monkey basal ganglia neurons under unanesthetized conditions. The group found that neurons in the parkinsonian basal ganglia showed abnormal 'oscillatory' activity, which was rarely seen in normal subjects. The abnormal rhythm was completely eliminated by systemic administration of a dopamine precursor (L-DOPA), which is clinically used for human parkinsonian patients. The group considered that loss of dopamine induced the 'oscillations' in the basal ganglia and that the following disturbances in information flow of motor commands impaired motor performances. Abnormal neuronal oscillations were already reported in parkinsonian patients and animal models, but this report has provided the direct evidence that 'oscillations' are associated with motor abnormalities. Moreover, it was also shown that the injection of a chemical inhibitor, muscimol, into the subthalamic nucleus silenced the oscillatory signals, and eventually reversed parkinsonian motor signs.

Professor Nambu claims, "By investigating the 'oscillatory' nature of electrical signals in the basal ganglia, we can advance our understanding of the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease. We improved motor deficits by means of infusion of the chemical inhibitor (muscimol) into the subthalamic nucleus to silence the 'oscillatory' signals in the brain structure. This may provide us important clues to developing new treatments for Parkinson's disease."
-end-
This study was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, the Japan Intractable Diseases Research Foundation and Hori Information Science Promotion Foundation to Y. Tachibana and A. Nambu, and NIH grants (NS-47085 and NS-57236) to H. Kita.

National Institute for Physiological Sciences

Related Basal Ganglia Articles from Brightsurf:

How do basal ganglia neurons convey information for the control of voluntary movements?
Researchers revealed how neurons in the basal ganglia, which are a brain region crucial for the control of voluntary movements and whose damage induces motor impairment, such as Parkinson's disease, convey information for the movement control by recording activity of multiple neurons simultaneously in Japanese monkeys.

The brain may need iron for healthy cognitive development
Iron levels in brain tissue rise during development and are correlated with cognitive abilities, according to research in children and young adults recently published in JNeurosci.

How the brain processes rewards
Researchers from HSE University, Skoltech and the University of Toronto analyzed data from 190 fMRI studies and found out that food, sex and money implicate similar brain regions whereas different types of reward favor the left and right hemispheres differently.

ASTRO issues new guideline on radiation therapy for basal, squamous cell skin cancers
A new clinical guideline from the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) provides recommendations on the use of radiation therapy to treat patients diagnosed with the most common types of skin cancers.

Scientists shed new light on neural processes behind learning and motor behaviours
Researchers have provided new insight into the neural processes behind movement and learning behaviours, according to a study published today in eLife.

Afraid of food? The answer may be in the basal forebrain
A brain circuit in the mouse basal forebrain that is involved in perceiving the outside world, connects with and overrides feeding behaviors regulated by the hypothalamus.

How we tune out distractions
MIT neuroscientists have identified a brain circuit that helps us to filter out unwanted background noise or other distracting sensory stimuli.

'Striosome' neurons in the basal ganglia play a key role in learning
Researchers at OIST have successfully isolated and recorded the activity of a subset of neurons in the striatum in the brain, shedding light on one mechanism underlying learning and decision making in animals.

Why basal cell tumors return when drug treatment stops
A new study pinpoints a mechanism that controls how basal cell cancers respond to treatment and offers new ideas for controlling this disease when it gets tricky.

Songbirds may hold the secret to how babies learn to speak
A new study of songbirds by scientists at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences may reveal how people learn complex behaviors, including speech.

Read More: Basal Ganglia News and Basal Ganglia Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.