|Comment by Bechir Jarraya and Stephane Palfi on Gradinaru et al.
What Are We Stimulating in the Brain?
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has proved to be a very powerful technique to modulate behavior in an On/Off manner. This led to an intensive development of DBS as a therapeutic option for neurological and psychiatric disorders. The case for Parkinson disease (PD) is a unique demonstration of how tremendous can be the behavioral shift following electrical stimulation of subthalamic nucleus (STN) region. Because a very localized electrical stimulation of the brain can shift symptoms, accurate localization of DBS target becomes of primary importance. DBS holds potential to successfully treat debilitating neurological conditions and drug-resistant psychiatric disorders. The fine understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms of DBS would be of a great interest to improve the field and help developing future applications. It is commonly thought that DBS ameliorates PD by inhibiting STN neuron activity.
Up to now, the “inhibition” hypothesis was difficult to...