Chronic pedunculopontine nucleus stimulation restores functional connectivity.
Schweder PM., Joint C., Hansen PC., Green AL., Quaghebeur G., Aziz TZ.
The mechanisms of deep brain stimulation (DBS) are poorly understood. Earlier, high-frequency DBS has been thought to represent a depolarization block of the target area and low-frequency stimulation has been thought to 'drive' neuronal activity. We investigated the long-term effect of low-frequency DBS in a longitudinal imaging study of a patient who received bilateral pedunculopontine nucleus stimulation. We used the diffusion tensor imaging techniques including probabilistic tractography and topographic mapping to analyze long-term changes in connectivity with low-frequency DBS. Post-DBS connectivity analysis suggested a normalization of pathological pedunculopontine nucleus connectivity with DBS therapy. These findings may help elucidate the mechanisms of DBS, suggesting neuroplasticity involving a reorganization of target connectivity long term. This is the first reported case showing neuroimaging evidence of neuroplasticity after low-frequency DBS.