Subthalamic nucleus phase-amplitude coupling correlates with motor impairment in Parkinson's disease

Bernadette C.M. van Wijk, Martijn Beudel, Ashwani Jha, Ashwini Oswal, Tom Foltynie, Marwan I. Hariz, Patricia Limousin, Ludvic Zrinzo, Tipu Z. Aziz, Alexander L. Green, Peter Brown, Vladimir Litvak

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116 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: High-amplitude beta band oscillations within the subthalamic nucleus are frequently associated with Parkinson's disease but it is unclear how they might lead to motor impairments. Here we investigate a likely pathological coupling between the phase of beta band oscillations and the amplitude of high-frequency oscillations around 300 Hz. Methods: We analysed an extensive data set comprising resting-state recordings obtained from deep brain stimulation electrodes in 33 patients before and/or after taking dopaminergic medication. We correlated mean values of spectral power and phase-amplitude coupling with severity of hemibody bradykinesia/rigidity. In addition, we used simultaneously recorded magnetoencephalography to look at functional interactions between the subthalamic nucleus and ipsilateral motor cortex. Results: Beta band power and phase-amplitude coupling within the subthalamic nucleus correlated positively with severity of motor impairment. This effect was more pronounced within the low-beta range, whilst coherence between subthalamic nucleus and motor cortex was dominant in the high-beta range. Conclusions: We speculate that the beta band might impede pro-kinetic high-frequency activity patterns when phase-amplitude coupling is prominent. Furthermore, results provide evidence for a functional subdivision of the beta band into low and high frequencies. Significance: Our findings contribute to the interpretation of oscillatory activity within the cortico-basal ganglia circuit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2010-2019
Number of pages10
JournalClinical neurophysiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Beta oscillations
  • Cross-frequency coupling
  • Local field potentials
  • Motor system
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Subthalamic nucleus

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