Functional and effective connectivity in the subthalamic nucleus of patients with Parkinson’s Disease
In Parkinson's disease (PD) levodopa-associated changes in the power and long-range temporal correlations of beta oscillations have been demonstrated, yet the presence and modulation of genuine connectivity in local field potentials (LFP) recorded from the subthalamic nucleus (STN) remains an open question. The present study investigated LFP recorded bilaterally from the STN at wakeful rest in ten patients with PD after overnight withdrawal of levodopa (OFF) and after a single dose levodopa administration (ON). We utilized connectivity measures being insensitive to volume conduction (functional connectivity: non-zero imaginary part of coherency; effective connectivity: phase-slope index). We demonstrated the presence of neuronal interactions in the frequency range of 10-30 Hz in STN-LFP without a preferential directionality of interactions between different contacts along the electrode tracks. While the direction of neuronal interactions per se was preserved after levodopa administration, functional connectivity and the ventral-dorsal information flow were modulated by medication. The OFF-ON differences in functional connectivity were correlated with the levodopa-induced improvement in clinical Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale scores. We hypothesize that regional neuronal interactions, as reflected in STN-LFP connectivity, might represent a basis for the intra-nuclear spatial specificity of deep brain stimulation. Moreover, our results suggest the potential use of volume conduction-insensitive measures of connectivity in STN-LFP as a marker of clinical motor symptoms in PD.