Background: Deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus is an effective treatment for patients with advanced Parkinson's disease. However, affective side effects following subthalamic deep brain stimulation have been reported. Here, we aim to elucidate the influence of affective state on emotional processing as indexed by local field potential activity and to identify neurophysiological markers in patients at risk of developing depressive symptoms during subthalamic deep brain stimulation.
Methods: Subthalamic local field potentials were directly recorded via electrodes implanted for deep brain stimulation in 12 Parkinson's disease patients while viewing emotionally salient and neutral pictures. Parkinson's disease patients were assessed for depressive symptoms using the Beck depression inventory at the time of operation and 3 months after continuous subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation.
Results: We found a significant event-related desynchronization in the local alpha frequency band (8–12 Hz) for emotionally arousing but not neutral pictures. The the event-related desynchronization (ERD) in the alpha frequency band was reduced for pleasant stimuli in patients with mild to moderate depressive symptoms compared with patients without depression. The alpha-ERD to unpleasant stimuli showed the opposite pattern. Consistently, the index of event-related alpha desynchronization (alpha ERD for pleasant stimuli minus alpha ERD for unpleasant stimuli) correlated with the Beck depression inventory at the time of the recordings and at 3 months after continuous deep brain stimulation. The alpha ERD to unpleasant pictures correlated significantly with the Beck depression inventory score at 3 months after chronic deep brain stimulation.
Discusion: In conclusion, we found mood-congruent stimulus processing in the subthalamic nucleus of Parkinson's disease patients. Electrophysiological markers such as event-related desynchronization of subthalamic alpha activity reflect state-dependent emotional processing and may potentially be used to predict depressive mood disturbances in Parkinson's disease patients with chronic subthalamic deep brain stimulation at an early stage. © 2011 Movement Disorder Society