Globus pallidus internus neuronal activity: a comparative study of linear and non-linear features in patients with dystonia or Parkinson's disease.
Movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease (PD) and dystonia are associated with alterations of basal ganglia motor circuits and abnormal neuronal activity in the output nucleus, the globus pallidus internus (GPi). This study aims to compare the electrophysiological hallmarks for PD and dystonia in the linear and non-linear time stamp domains in patients who underwent microelectrode recordings during functional stereotactic surgery for deep brain stimulation (DBS) or pallidotomy. We analyzed single-unit neuronal activity in the posteroventral lateral region of the GPi in awake patients prior to pallidotomy or the implantation of DBS electrodes in 29 patients with PD (N = 83 neurons) and 13 patients with dystonia (N = 41 neurons) under comparable conditions. The discharge rate and the instantaneous frequency of the GPi in dystonia patients were significantly lower than in PD patients (P < 0.001), while the total number of bursts, the percentage of spikes in bursts and the mean duration of bursts were higher (P < 0.001). Further, non-linear analysis revealed higher irregularity or entropy in the data streams of GPi neurons of PD patients compared to the dystonia patients group (P < 0.001). This study indicates that both linear and non-linear features of neuronal activity in the human GPi differ between PD and dystonia. Our results may serve as the basis for future studies on linear and non-linear analysis of neuronal firing patterns in various movement disorders.