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Tending the source of parkinsonism through deep brain microstimulation

Introduction

Descriptive models of basal ganglia operation have seen a recent increase in interest from the classical idea of direct and indirect pathways towards a more feedback-oriented view of statistic optimality [1]. These new views may prove to be valuable in explaining and finding new treatments for common basal ganglia disorders such as Parkinson's disease beyond current techniques of pure symptom fighting through widespread deep brain stimulation or chemical regulators for increasing tonic levels of dopamine.

It is known that phasic changes in dopamine signals from the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) and ventral tegmental area (VTA) seem to present a reward prediction error to the striatum [2] and likely play an important part in procedural learning. Some (rate-based) models of basal ganglia learning procedures have been suggested and await further integration with biological evidence [3].

Our current interest here is to examine the firing variability between SNc neurons depending on their afferent inputs and general projections to within the rat striatum. We have therefore created a new design of self-fabricated tetrode-like nine-wire electrodes [4] to assist in current spike clustering techniques [5]. Our results with this new design have shown a triple increase in detectable basal ganglia neurons per probe tip in a confined area.

One long-term goal is to use reward information accumulating in the SNc to guide fine-grained electrical stimulation of dopaminergic cells placed in the striatum to accommodate for reduced dynamic rage of a procedural learning signal.

References

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    Schultz W: Multiple reward signals in the brain. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 2000, 1: 199-207. 10.1038/35044563.

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    Frank MJ: Dynamic dopamine modulation in the basal ganglia: a neurocomputational account of cognitive deficits in medicated and nonmedicated Parkinsonism. J Cognitive Neuroscience. 2005, 17: 51-72. 10.1162/0898929052880093.

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    Gritsun T, Engler G, Moll CKE, Engel AK, Kondra S, Ramrath L, Hofmann UG: A simple microelectrode bundle for deep brain recordings. 3rd Intl Conf on Neural Engineering, IEEE, Hawaii. 2007

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    Quiroga RQ: Unsupervised spike detection and sorting with wavelets and superparamagnetic clustering. Neural Computation. 2004, 16: 1661-1687. 10.1162/089976604774201631.

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Acknowledgements

This research is funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the project "BiCIRTS" in the "Nanobiotechnologie" programme.

Author information

Correspondence to Simon M Vogt.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Keywords

  • Basal Ganglion
  • Deep Brain Stimulation
  • Ventral Tegmental Area
  • Procedural Learning
  • General Projection