Synchronisation in the beta frequency-band--the bad boy of parkinsonism or an innocent bystander?
Eusebio A., Brown P.
Excessive synchronisation of basal ganglia neuronal activity in the beta frequency band has been implicated in Parkinson's disease. In a recent issue of Experimental Neurology, Bronte-Stewart, H., Barberini, C., Koop, M.M., Hill, B.C., Henderson, J.M., Wingeier, B., 2009. The STN beta-band profile in Parkinson's disease is stationary and shows prolonged attenuation after deep brain stimulation. Exp. Neurol. 215, 20-28. demonstrate that such activity is consistent over time and provide further evidence that deep brain stimulation is associated with its suppression. However, the extent to which beta synchrony has a mechanistic (rather than epiphenomenal) role in parkinsonism remains unclear, and the suppression of this activity by deep brain stimulation is contentious. This commentary discusses the evidence for and against a role for excessive beta synchrony in mediating the parkinsonian phenotype and in providing a possible mechanism to explain the therapeutic effects of deep brain stimulation in Parkinson's disease.