Distinct population code for movement kinematics and changes of ongoing movements in human subthalamic nucleus

Dennis London, Arash Fazl, Kalman Katlowitz, Marisol Soula, Michael H. Pourfar, Alon Y. Mogilner, Roozbeh Kiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The subthalamic nucleus (STN) is theorized to globally suppress movement through connections with downstream basal ganglia structures. Current theories are supported by increased STN activity when subjects withhold an uninitiated action plan, but a critical test of these theories requires studying STN responses when an ongoing action is replaced with an alternative. We perform this test in subjects with Parkinson’s disease using an extended reaching task where the movement trajectory changes mid-action. We show that STN activity decreases during action switches, contrary to prevalent theories. Further, beta oscillations in the STN local field potential, which are associated with movement inhibition, do not show increased power or spiking entrainment during switches. We report an inhomogeneous population neural code in STN, with one sub-population encoding movement kinematics and direction and another encoding unexpected action switches. We suggest an elaborate neural code in STN that contributes to planning actions and changing the plans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere64893
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Basal Ganglia/physiopathology
  • Deep Brain Stimulation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement
  • Parkinson Disease/physiopathology
  • Subthalamic Nucleus/physiopathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Neuroscience


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