Investigating irregularly patterned deep brain stimulation signal design using biophysical models
Summerson, Samantha R.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder which follows from cell loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc), a nucleus in the basal ganglia (BG). Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an electrical therapy that modulates the pathological activity to treat the motor symptoms of PD. Although this therapy is currently used in clinical practice, the sufficient conditions for therapeutic efficacy are unknown. In this work we develop a model of critical motor circuit structures in the brain using biophysical cell models as the base components and then evaluate performance of different DBS signals in this model to perform comparative studies of their efficacy. Biological models are an important tool for gaining insights into neural function and, in this case, serve as effective tools for investigating innovative new DBS paradigms. Experiments were performed using the hemi-parkinsonian rodent model to test the same set of signals, verifying the obedience of the model to physiological trends. We show that antidromic spiking from DBS of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) has a significant impact on cortical neural activity, which is frequency dependent and additionally modulated by the regularity of the stimulus pulse train used. Irregular spacing between stimulus pulses, where the amount of variability added is bounded, is shown to increase diversification of response of basal ganglia neurons and reduce entropic noise in cortical neurons, which may be fundamentally important to restoration of information flow in the motor circuit.
deep brain stimulation; Parkinson's disease; antidromic; computational modeling; firing rate entropy