Spontaneous sleep modulates the firing pattern of Parkinsonian subthalamic nucleus

Alessandro Stefani, Salvatore Galati, Antonella Peppe, Andrea Bassi, Mariangela Pierantozzi, Atticus H. Hainsworth, Giorgio Bernardi, Antonio Orlacchio, Paolo Stanzione, Paolo Mazzone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In Parkinson's disease, the subthalamic nucleus (STN) is a common target for functional neurosurgery. Recent investigations have suggested that physiological non-motor stimuli may dramatically alter STN firing properties. By maintaining long-lasting micro-recordings of STN single units in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients, here we show that the neurons that are responsive to passive movements are also strongly modulated by altered vigilance state (awake vs. sleep). In addition, sleep was characterized by a distinctive irregular train-like firing pattern. These findings suggest that the reduction of the somato-sensory input modifies rigidity and, hence, STN discharge mode. Further, it is suggested that specific STN electrophysiological features are potential targets for future therapeutic interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-280
Number of pages4
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006


  • Basal ganglia
  • DBS
  • Firing pattern
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Vigilance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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