Progressive loss of the ascending dopaminergic projection in the basal ganglia is a fundamental pathological feature of Parkinson's disease. Studies in animals and humans have identified spatially segregated functional territories in the basal ganglia for the control of goal-directed and habitual actions. In patients with Parkinson's disease the loss of dopamine is predominantly in the posterior putamen, a region of the basal ganglia associated with the control of habitual behaviour. These patients may therefore be forced into a progressive reliance on the goal-directed mode of action control that is mediated by comparatively preserved processing in the rostromedial striatum. Thus, many of their behavioural difficulties may reflect a loss of normal automatic control owing to distorting output signals from habitual control circuits, which impede the expression of goaldirected action.The basal ganglia are a group of subcortical nuclei that have been linked to movement control since the end of the nineteenth century when David Ferrier concluded that the corpus striatum contained "the centres of automatic or sub-voluntary integration" (REF. 1 Europe PMC Funders Author ManuscriptsEurope PMC Funders Author Manuscripts view was expanded in the early twentieth century by observations that basal ganglia lesions were associated with movement disorders (BOX 1). The first functional model of basal ganglia architecture was developed in the late 1980s (FIG. 1a). In this model, cortical inputs enter the basal ganglia through the striatum (in primates this consists of the caudate nucleus and the putamen), and the internal globus pallidus (GPi) and the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr) serve as the principal output nuclei. The activity of striatal medium spiny projection neurons is conveyed to the output nuclei (GPi and SNr) through a monosynaptic GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid)-ergic projection (the 'direct' pathway) and a polysynaptic ('indirect') pathway that involves relays in the external globus pallidus (GPe) and the subthalamic nucleus (STN) 2 , 3 . Output from GABAergic GPi and SNr neurons keep targeted structures in the thalamus and brainstem under tonic inhibitory control: this tonic inhibition is blocked (that is, paused) by phasic inhibitory signals from the 'direct' striato-nigralpallidal projection 4 , which releases thalamocortical and brainstem structures from inhibition, thereby allowing movement to proceed. Dopaminergic input from the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) modulates corticostriatal transmission by exerting a dual effect on striatal projection neurons (FIG. 1). Neurons that co-express dopamine D1 receptors, substance P and dynorphin and give rise to the 'direct pathway' are excited by dopamine, whereas neurons that co-express D2 receptors and encephalin, and that give rise to the 'indirect pathway', are inhibited 5 (FIG. 1a). Consequently, according to this model, in the normal state, activation of the 'indirect circuits' at the level of the striatum would promote movement inhibition or...
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative process characterized by numerous motor and nonmotor clinical manifestations for which effective, mechanism-based treatments remain elusive. Here we discuss a series of critical issues that we think researchers need to address to stand a better chance of solving the different challenges posed by this pathology.
Single-cell recording of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) was undertaken in 14 patients with Parkinson's disease submitted to surgery. Three hundred and fifty neurones were recorded and assessed for their response to passive and active movements. Thirty-two per cent were activated by passive and active movement of the limbs, oromandibular region and abdominal wall. All neurones with sensorimotor responses were in the dorsolateral region of the STN. Arm-related neurones were lateral (> or =14 mm plane) to leg-related neurones, which were found more medially (< or =12 mm). Representation of the oromandibular musculature was in the middle of the sensorimotor region (approximately 13 mm plane) and ventral to the arm and leg. Two hundred neurones were adequately isolated for 'off-line' analysis. The mean frequency of discharge was 33 +/- 17 Hz (13-117 Hz). Three types of neuronal discharges were distinguished: irregular (60.5%), tonic (24%) and oscillatory (15.5 %). They were statistically differentiated on the basis of their mean firing frequency and the coefficient of variation of the interspike interval. Neurones responding to movement were of the irregular or tonic type, and were found in the dorsolateral region of the STN. Neurones with oscillatory and low frequency activity did not respond to movement and were in the ventral one-third of the nucleus. Thirty-eight tremor-related neurones were recorded. The majority (84%) of these were sensitive to movement and were located in the dorsolateral region of the STN. Cross power analysis (n = 16) between the rhythmic neuronal activity and tremor in the limbs showed a peak frequency of 5 Hz (4-8 Hz). Neuronal activity of the substantia nigra pars reticulata was recorded 0.5-3 mm below the STN. Eighty neurones were recorded 'on-line' and 27 were isolated for 'off-line' analysis. A tonic pattern of discharge characterized by a mean firing rate of 71 +/- 28 Hz (35-122 Hz) with a mean coefficient of variation of the interspike interval of 0.85 +/- 0.29 ms was found. In only three neurones (11%) was there a response to sensorimotor stimulation. The findings of this study indicate that the somatotopic arrangement and electrophysiological features of the STN in Parkinson's disease patients are similar to those found in monkeys.
The basal ganglia (BG) are a highly organized network, where different parts are activated for specific functions and circumstances. The BG are involved in movement control, as well as associative learning, planning, working memory, and emotion. We concentrate on the "motor circuit" because it is the best understood anatomically and physiologically, and because Parkinson's disease is mainly thought to be a movement disorder. Normal function of the BG requires fine tuning of neuronal excitability within each nucleus to determine the exact degree of movement facilitation or inhibition at any given moment. This is mediated by the complex organization of the striatum, where the excitability of medium spiny neurons is controlled by several pre- and postsynaptic mechanisms as well as interneuron activity, and secured by several recurrent or internal BG circuits. The motor circuit of the BG has two entry points, the striatum and the subthalamic nucleus (STN), and an output, the globus pallidus pars interna (GPi), which connects to the cortex via the motor thalamus. Neuronal afferents coding for a given movement or task project to the BG by two different systems: (1) Direct disynaptic projections to the GPi via the striatum and STN. (2) Indirect trisynaptic projections to the GPi via the globus pallidus pars externa (GPe). Corticostriatal afferents primarily act to inhibit medium spiny neurons in the "indirect circuit" and facilitate neurons in the "direct circuit." The GPe is in a pivotal position to regulate the motor output of the BG. Dopamine finely tunes striatal input as well as neuronal striatal activity, and modulates GPe, GPi, and STN activity. Dopaminergic depletion in Parkinson's disease disrupts the corticostriatal balance leading to increased activity the indirect circuit and reduced activity in the direct circuit. The precise chain of events leading to increased STN activity is not completely understood, but impaired dopaminergic regulation of the GPe, GPi, and STN may be involved. The parkinsonian state is characterized by disruption of the internal balance of the BG leading to hyperactivity in the two main entry points of the network (striatum and STN) and excessive inhibitory output from the GPi. Replacement therapy with standard levodopa creates a further imbalance, producing an abnormal pattern of neuronal discharge and synchronization of neuronal firing that sustain the "off" and "on with dyskinesia" states. The effect of levodopa is robust but short-lasting and converts the parkinsonian BG into a highly unstable system, where pharmacological and compensatory effects act in opposing directions. This creates a scenario that substantially departs from the normal physiological state of the BG.
Dopamine deficiency causes disinhibition and overactivity of the subthalamic nucleus (STN). Output neurons from the STN are excitatory and use glutamate as a neurotransmitter. They project to the external and internal segments of the globus pallidum (GPe and GPi), die substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr), and the pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN). In addition, STN neurons provide excitatory innervation to dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) that contain glutamate receptors. Stimulation of the STN induces bursting activity in SNc dopaminergic neurons. This raises the possibility that the disinhibition of STN neurons that occurs as a result of a dopamine lesion might induce excitotoxic damage in target structures, including the SNc. In addition, the reduction in complex I activity found in the nigra in Parkinson's disease (PD) may cause mitochondrial dysfunction and make SNc dopaminergic neurons vulnerable to even physiologic concentrations of glutamate. We postulate that the dopamine loss that occurs in PD produces augmented STN activity which, in turn, causes further damage to vulnerable dopaminergic neurons, thereby creating a scenario for an increasing cycle of neuronal loss in the SNc. In addition, STN overactivity could, in theory, cause damage to the GPi, SNr, and PPN and thereby account for the development of parkinsonian features that do not respond to levodopa in patients with advanced disease. This hypothesis suggests that pharmacologic or surgical therapies that reduce STN neuronal overactivity or block glutamate receptors in the SNc and other target structures might be neuroprotective and might slow or halt the progression of neurodegeneration in PD.Rodriguez MC, Obeso JA, Olanaw CW. Subthalamic nucleus-mediated excitotoxicity in Parkinson's disease: a target for neuroprotection. Ann Neurol 1998;44(Suppl 1):S175-S188The subthalamic nucleus (STN) is a key structure in the functional organization of the basal ganglia. 1 ' 2 For merly considered to have inhibitory projections, its neurons are now known to be excitatory and to use glutamate as a neurotransmitter. 3 In primates, the STN projects to both the globus pallidus pars interna (GPi) and the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr), as well as to the globus pallidus pars externa (GPe), the substan tia nigra pars compacta (SNc), the putamen, and the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPN) in the brainstem.' A (Fig 1). The STN receives inhibitory GABAergic projections from the GPe 2 and excitatory glutamatergic afferents from the sensorimotor cortex, 5 the parafascicular nucleus of the thalamus, and the PPN. 7 The PPN also sends GABAergic and cholinergic efferents to the STN. 7 In addition, dopaminergic affer ents to the STN have been described in monkeys. 8 Anatomic and physiologic data conclusively indicate that output neurons of the STN in the rat and monkey are excitatory and use glutamate as their transmitter.Inactivation of STN induces a reduction in metabolic activity, mitochondrial enzyme activity, glutamic acid...
Better knowledge of the risk factors associated with the appearance of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) could improve the efficacy of surveillance programs. A total of 463 patients aged 40 to 65 years with liver cirrhosis in Child-Pugh class A or B were included in a program of early diagnosis. The predictive value of different risk factors was evaluated using the Kaplan-Meier method and Cox regression model. Thirty-eight patients developed HCC. In the multivariate analysis, 4 variables showed an independent predictive value for the development of HCC: age 55 years or older, antibody to hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV) positivity, prothrombin activity 75% or less, and platelet count less than 75 ؋ 10 3 /mm 3 . According to the contribution of each of these factors to the final model, a score ranging between 0 and 4.71 points was constructed to allow the division of patients into 2 different risk groups. The low-risk group included those with a score of 2.33 points or less (n ؍ 270; 4 with HCC; cumulative incidence of HCC at 4 years, 2.3%), and the high-risk group included those with a score greater than 2.33 (n ؍ 193; 34 with HCC; cumulative incidence of HCC at 4 years, 30.1%) (P ؍ .0001). In conclusion, a simple score made up of 4 clinical and biological variables allowed us to distinguish 2 groups of cirrhotic patients at high and low risk for the development of HCC. We believe this score can be useful in establishing a subset of cirrhotic patients in whom a surveillance program for early detection of HCC could be unjustified.
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