Deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus improves pain in Parkinson’s disease

Parkinsonism & Related Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.97). 06/2014; 20(6). DOI: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2014.03.011


In Parkinson’s disease (PD), chronic pain is a common symptom which markedly affects the quality of life. Some physiological arguments proposed that Deep Brain Stimulation of the Subthalamic Nucleus (STN-DBS) could improve pain in PD.

We investigated in 58 PD patients the effect of STN-DBS on pain using the short McGill Pain Questionnaire and other pain parameters such as the Bodily discomfort subscore of the Parkinson’s disease Questionnaire 39 and the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale section II (UPDRS II) item 17.

All pain scores were significantly improved 12 months after STN-DBS. This improvement was not correlated with motor improvement, depression scores or L-Dopa reduction.

STN-DBS induced a substantial beneficial effect on pain in PD, independently of its motor effects and mood status of patients.

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    • "This is in line with the finding that injury to motor neurons produces neuropathic pain in rats, although the situation in postpoliomyelitis patients might be more complicated. Furthermore, pain also constitutes the major non motor syndrome in Parkinson's disease (PD) (Dieb et al., 2014; Pellaprat et al., 2014). In our recent work, we have found that L5-VRT up-regulates interleukin-6 (IL-6) in uninjured primary afferent system, and that the absence of IL-6 achieved by pre-treatment with IL-6 neutralizing antibody delays the induction of mechanical allodynia in bilateral hindpaws (Wei et al., 2013a). "
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