Evidence of subthalamic PGO-like waves during REM sleep in humans: A deep brain polysomnographic study

Julio Fernández-Mendoza, Beatriz Lozano, Fernando Seijo, Elena Santamarta-Liébana, Maria José Ramos-Platón, Antonio Vela-Bueno, Fernando Fernández-González

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53 Scopus citations


Study Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine whether the subthalamic nucleus (STN) plays a role in the transmission of PGO-like waves during REM sleep in humans. Design: Simultaneous recordings from deep brain electrodes to record local field potentials (LFPs), and standard polysomnography to ascertain sleep/wake states. Setting: Main Hospital, department of clinical neurophysiology sleep laboratory. Participants: 12 individuals with Parkinson's disease, with electrodes implanted in the STN; and, as a control for localization purposes, 4 cluster headache patients with electrodes implanted in the posterior hypothalamus. Interventions: All subjects underwent functional neurosurgery for implantation of deep brain stimulation electrodes. Results: Sharp, polarity-reversed LFPs were recorded within the STN during REM sleep in humans. These subthalamic PGO-like waves (2-3 Hz, 80-200 μV, and 300-500 msec) appeared during REM epochs as singlets or in clusters of 3-13 waves. During the pre-REM period, subthalamic PGO-like waves were temporally related to drops in the submental electromyogram and/or onset of muscular atonia. Clusters of PGO-like waves occurred typically before and during the bursts of rapid eye movements and were associated with an enhancement in fast (15-35 Hz) subthalamic oscillatory activity. Conclusion: Subthalamic PGO-like waves can be recorded during pre-REM and REM sleep in humans. Our data suggest that the STN may play an active role in an ascending activating network implicated in the transmission of PGO waves during REM sleep in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1117-1126
Number of pages10
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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