Master Theses UMCG - University of Groningen
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Influence of deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus on cognitivesymptoms in a rat model of Parkinson’s Disease

(2016) Holslag, J.A.H.

Morbus Parkinson is a common neurodegenerative disease. It is best known for its cardinal
motor symptoms caused by loss of dopamine, which can be alleviated by dopaminergic
medication and deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN). But most
patients also have non-motor symptoms. Attention deficit and impulsivity are among the
commonest. There are indications that STN DBS affects these cognitive symptoms.
Nevertheless, there is a lack of properly controlled studies, not confounded by varying
influences. Therefor a study was performed to test attention and impulsivity in a rat model of
parkinson’s, as well as the effect of STN DBS, thereof.
A 3-class auditory oddball paradigm was used to test rats’ ability to quickly, and specifically
react to a correct tone, but to ignore a standard and distractor tone. Our results show reduced
attention and impulsivity in the 6-OHDA lesioned rat Parkinson’s model, but that STN DBS
has no effect on these symptoms. Reduced attention has been shown in Parkinson before,
while the impact of this disorder on impulsivity is less clear. This paradigm may therefore be
useful to characterize the pathophysiological mechanisms leading to disturbed attention in
Parkinson in more detail.

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