Activation of the subthalamic nucleus suppressed by high frequency stimulation: A c-Fos immunohistochemical study

Safa Shehab, Crystal D'souza, Milos Ljubisavljevic, Peter Redgrave

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Deep brain stimulation applied at high frequency (HFS) to the subthalamic nucleus (STN) is used to ameliorate the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. The mechanism by which this is achieved remains controversial. In particular, it is uncertain whether HFS has a suppressive or excitatory action locally within the STN. Brief exposure of rats to ether anesthesia evokes pathological burst firing and associated expression of the immediate early gene c-Fos in STN neurons. We used this ether model of STN activation to test the effect of a range of HFS parameters on c-Fos expression evoked by the anesthetic. The elevated baseline of c-Fos expression afforded the possibility of detecting further excitatory, or suppressive effects of STN HFS. Four HFS protocols were examined; 130, 200 and 260 Hz with 60 µs, and 130 Hz with 90 µs pulse width (HFS intensity:150-300 µA). All HFS protocols were applied for 20 min while the animals were exposed to ether. Ether-evoked expression of c-Fos immunoreactivity was suppressed by HFS at 200 and 260 Hz with a pulse width of 60 µs, and by 130 Hz when the pulse width was increased to 90 µs. HFS at 130 Hz with the 60 µs pulse width had no significant effect and HFS alone caused negligible c-Fos expression in the STN. These findings suggest that HFS of the STN causes significant suppression of evoked neuronal activity. It remains to be determined whether this locally suppressive property of HFS is associated with the efficacy of STN deep brain stimulation to relieve the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-50
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research
Publication statusPublished - Apr 15 2018


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Rat
  • Subthalamic nucleus
  • c-Fos

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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