• Thalamus;
  • Parkinson's disease;
  • Tremor;
  • Basal ganglia;
  • Neuronal oscillators;
  • Feedback processes


The mechanism of parkinsonian tremor may involve a central oscillator, peripheral feedback to the central nervous system (CNS), or both. The thalamus or the globus pallidus is the most likely site for a central oscillator and would be predicted to generate thalamic tremor-related activity characterized, respectively, by calcium spike-associated bursts and by maximal tremor-related activity in the pallidal relay nucleus of thalamus. Thalamic spike trains demonstrate neither of these characteristics. However, cross-correlation, latency, and transfer function analysis indicate that sensory feedback is a critical element in the relationship between thalamic activity and parkinsonian tremor. Therefore, thalamic spike train activity is most consistent with parkinsonian tremor being mediated by peripheral inputs involved in either an unstable reflex loop or sensory modulation of a central oscillator.