Tic related local field potentials in the thalamus and the effect of deep brain stimulation in Tourette syndrome: Report of three cases

L J Bour, L Ackermans, E M J Foncke, D Cath, C van der Linden, V Visser Vandewalle, M A Tijssen
Clinical Neurophysiology: Official Journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology 2015, 126 (8): 1578-88

OBJECTIVE: Three patients with intractable Tourette syndrome (TS) underwent thalamic deep brain stimulation (DBS). To investigate the role of thalamic electrical activity in tic generation, local field potentials (LFP), EEG and EMG simultaneously were recorded.

METHODS: Event related potentials and event related spectral perturbations of EEG and LFP, event related cross-coherences between EEG/LFP and LFP/LFP were analyzed. As time locking events, the tic onsets were used. Spontaneous tics were compared to voluntary tic mimicking. The effect of tic suppression and DBS on thalamic LFPs was evaluated.

RESULTS: All three patients showed time-locked and prior to onset of spontaneous motor tics thalamic synchronization and thalamo-cortical cross-coherence. Also in three patients, not time-locked to motor tics, increased intra-thalamic coherences in the 1-8Hz frequency band were found. In one patient it was demonstrated that voluntary mimicked tics were preceded by premotor cortical and thalamic potentials. In this patient unilateral thalamic DBS contralaterally decreased the background thalamic activity.

CONCLUSIONS: The present study in three cases with TS shows that spontaneous tics in TS are preceded by repetitive coherent thalamo-cortical discharges, indicating that preceding a tic the basal ganglia circuits are "charged up", ultimately leading to a motor tic.

SIGNIFICANCE: Thalamic LFP recording may lead to more insight in underlying pathophysiological mechanisms in TS.

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