Oscillations in the basal ganglia under normal conditions and in movement disorders



A substantial body of work within the last decade has demonstrated that there is a variety of oscillatory phenomena that occur in the basal ganglia and in associated regions of the thalamus and cortex. Most of the earlier studies focused on recordings in rodents and primates. More recently, significant advances have been made in this field of research through the analysis of basal ganglia field potentials recorded from implanted deep brain stimulation electrodes in the basal ganglia of human patients with Parkinson's disease and other disorders. It now appears that oscillatory activity may play a significant role in the pathogenesis of these diseases. The most significant finding is that in Parkinson's disease synchronized oscillatory activity in the 10- to 35-Hz band (often termed “β-band”) is prevalent in the basal ganglia–thalamocortical circuits, and that such activity can be reduced by dopaminergic treatments. The entrainment of large portions of these circuits may disrupt information processing in them and may lead to parkinsonian akinesia (and perhaps tremor). Although less firmly established than the role of oscillations in movement disorders, oscillatory activities at higher frequencies may also be a component of normal basal ganglia physiology. © 2006 Movement Disorder Society