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Author Notes:

Correspondence: spapa@emory.edu

M.R.D., J.A.O., and S.M.P. designed research; A.S., K.M., R.E.G., M.R.D., J.A.O., and S.M.P. performed research; A.S., K.M., and S.M.P. analyzed data; and A.S., M.R.D., J.A.O., and S.M.P. wrote the paper.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


Research Funding:

This study was supported by NIH Grants NS045962 and NS073994, National Center for Research Resources RR000165, Office of Research Infrastructure Programs/Office of the Director OD011132 (to S.M.P.), SAF2012-40216 and SAF2015-67239-P Plan Nacional, Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (to J.A.O.), and American Parkinson’s Disease Association Advanced Center for Research (M.R.D. and K.M.).


  • Science & Technology
  • Multidisciplinary Sciences
  • Science & Technology - Other Topics
  • striatal projection neuron
  • dopamine
  • Parkinson's disease
  • basal ganglia
  • electrophysiology
  • Tonically active neurons
  • Basal ganglia
  • Essential tremor
  • Indirect pathways
  • subthalamic nucleus
  • Gaba interneurons
  • Spiny neurons
  • Spike trains
  • Plasticity
  • Modulation

Human striatal recordings reveal abnormal discharge of projection neurons in Parkinson's disease


Journal Title:

PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America)


Volume 113, Number 34


, Pages 9629-9634

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Circuitry models of Parkinson's disease (PD) are based on striatal dopamine loss and aberrant striatal inputs into the basal ganglia network. However, extrastriatal mechanisms have increasingly been the focus of attention, whereas the status of striatal discharges in the parkinsonian human brain remains conjectural. We now report the activity pattern of striatal projection neurons (SPNs) in patients with PD undergoing deep brain stimulation surgery, compared with patients with essential tremor (ET) and isolated dystonia (ID). The SPN activity in ET was very low (2.1 ± 0.1 Hz) and reminiscent of that found in normal animals. In contrast, SPNs in PD fired at much higher frequency (30.2 ± 1.2 Hz) and with abundant spike bursts. The difference between PD and ET was reproduced between 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine-treated and normal nonhuman primates. The SPN activity was also increased in ID, but to a lower level compared with the hyperactivity observed in PD. These results provide direct evidence that the striatum contributes significantly altered signals to the network in patients with PD.

Copyright information:

© 2016 National Academy of Sciences.

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