Characteristics and somatotopic organization of kinesthetic cells in the globus pallidus of patients with Parkinson's disease

Jamal M. Taha, Jacques Favre, Thomas K. Baumann, Kim J. Burchiel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Information is limited on the characteristics and topographic localization of pallidal kinesthetic cells in patients with Parkinson's disease. The authors analyzed the data from 298 neurons recorded in 38 patients with Parkinson's disease who underwent pallidotomy via microrecording techniques. Sixty-five neurons (22%) responded to passive movement of contralateral limbs. Of 17 kinesthetic cells that were tested in six patients, seven (41%) responded to ipsilateral limb movement as well. Nineteen cells (6%) fired synchronously with tremor. More kinesthetic cells were activated (63%) than inhibited (28%) by movement of single (68%) rather than multiple (32%) joints, and proximal (75%) rather than distal (25%) joints. The lateral globus pallidus externus (GPe) and medial globus pallidus (GPi) pallidal segments contained similar proportions of kinesthetic cells, activated or inhibited cells, arm- or leg-activated cells, and cells responding to single or multiple joints. Significantly more kinesthetic cells that responded to distal joints were recorded in GPi compared to GPe segments (p = 0.01). Arm and leg cells had similar characteristics pertaining to activation versus inhibition and responses to single, multiple, proximal, or distal joint movements. Arm and leg cells were somatotopically organized in GPi. Arm cells were clustered at the rostral and caudal segments of GPi and leg cells were clustered centrally. In GPe, leg cells were clustered at the caudal border. No somatotopic organization was identified for activated or inhibited cells; cells that responded to single, multiple, proximal, or distal joints; tremor-synchronous cells; or cells responding to specific joints within somatotopic arm or leg cells. It is concluded that kinesthetic cells provide a roadmap that localizes limb cells during pallidotomy. More studies are needed to identify the clinical significance of the different characteristics of kinesthetic cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1005-1012
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1996


  • Parkinson's disease
  • basal ganglia
  • globus pallidus
  • microrecording
  • pallidotomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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