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Characterisation of tremor-associated local field potentials in the subthalamic nucleus in Parkinson’s disease


  • Disclosure: The authors have reported no conflicts of interest.

Professor Lars Timmermann, 2Department of Neurology, as above.
E-mail: or Dr Christiane Reck, 2Department of Neurology, as above. E-mail:


We simultaneously recorded local field potentials (LFPs) in the subthalamic nucleus (STN) and surface electromyographic signals (EMGs) from the extensor and flexor muscles of the contralateral forearm in eight patients with idiopathic tremor-dominant Parkinson’s disease (resting tremor) during the bilateral implantation of deep brain stimulation electrodes. Recordings were made at different heights (in 0.5- to 2.0-mm steps beginning outside the STN) using up to five concentrically configured macroelectrodes (2 mm apart). The patients were instructed to relax their contralateral forearm (rest condition). We analysed the coherence between tremor EMGs and STN LFPs, which showed significant tremor-associated coupling at single tremor and double tremor frequencies. Moreover, the EMG–LFP coherences were characterised by differences between antagonistic muscles (flexor, extensor) and by the spatial distribution of LFPs within the STN. Coherence at single and double tremor frequencies occurred significantly more frequently within STN than above STN (in the zona incerta). In this study, we were able to show that, within STN, tremor-associated LFP activity varied with spatial distribution and with the contralateral antagonistic forearm muscles. These findings suggest the existence of distribution- and muscle-specific tremor-associated LFP activity at different tremor frequencies and an organisation of tremor-related subloops within the STN.