Changes in brain glucose metabolism in subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation for advanced parkinson's disease

M. A. Volonté, V. Garibotto, F. Spagnolo, A. Panzacchi, P. Picozzi, A. Franzin, E. Giovannini, L. Leocani, M. Cursi, G. Comi, D. Perani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Despite its large clinical application, our understanding about the mechanisms of action of deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus is still limited. Aim of the present study was to explore cortical and subcortical metabolic modulations measured by Positron Emission Tomography associated with improved motor manifestations after deep brain stimulation in Parkinson disease, comparing the ON and OFF conditions. Patients and methods: Investigations were performed in the stimulator off- and on-conditions in 14 parkinsonian patients and results were compared with a group of matched healthy controls. The results were also used to correlate metabolic changes with the clinical effectiveness of the procedure. Results: The comparisons using Statistical parametric mapping revealed a brain metabolic pattern typical of advanced Parkinson disease. The direct comparison in ON vs OFF condition showed mainly an increased metabolism in subthalamic regions, corresponding to the deep brain stimulation site. A positive correlation exists between neurostimulation clinical effectiveness and metabolic differences in ON and OFF state, including the primary sensorimotor, premotor and parietal cortices, anterior cingulate cortex. Conclusion: Deep brain stimulation seems to operate modulating the neuronal network rather than merely exciting or inhibiting basal ganglia nuclei. Correlations with Parkinson Disease cardinal features suggest that the improvement of specific motor signs associated with deep brain stimulation might be explained by the functional modulation, not only in the target region, but also in surrounding and remote connecting areas, resulting in clinically beneficial effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)770-774
Number of pages5
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Motor correlations
  • Parkinson's disease
  • PET
  • Subthalamic nucleus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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