Deep brain stimulation (DBS) requires precise localization, which is especially difficult at the thalamus, and even more difficult in anesthetized patients. We aimed to characterize the neurophysiological properties of the ventral intermediate (V.im), ventral caudal (V.c), and centromedian parvo (Ce.pc) and the magnocellular (Ce.mc) thalamic nuclei. We obtained microelectrode recordings from five patients with refractory epilepsy under general anesthesia. Somatosensory evoked potentials recorded by microelectrodes were used to identify the V.c nucleus. Trajectories were reconstructed off-line to identify the nucleus recorded, and the amplitude of the action potential (AP) and the tonic (i.e., mean frequency, density, probability of interspike interval) and phasic (i.e., burst index, pause index, and pause ratio) properties of the pattern discharges were analyzed. The Mahalanobis metric was used to evaluate the similarity of the patterns. The mean AP amplitude was higher for the V.im nucleus (172.7 ± 7.6 µV) than for the other nuclei, and the mean frequency was lower for the Ce.pc nucleus (7.2 ± 0.8 Hz) and higher for the V.c nucleus (11.9 ± 0.8 Hz) than for the other nuclei. The phasic properties showed a bursting pattern for the V.c nucleus and a tonic pattern for the centromedian and V.im nuclei. The Mahalanobis distance was the shortest for the V.im/V.c and Ce.mp/Ce.pc pairs. Therefore, the different properties of the thalamic nuclei, even for patients under general anesthesia, can be used to positively define the recorded structure, improving the exactness of electrode placement in DBS.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited