Involvement of the Red Nucleus in the Compensation of Parkinsonism may Explain why Primates can develop Stable Parkinson’s Disease

Ingrid H.C.H.M. Philippens*, Jacqueline A. Wubben, Sigrid K. Franke, Sam Hofman, Jan A.M. Langermans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Neurological compensatory mechanisms help our brain to adjust to neurodegeneration as in Parkinson’s disease. It is suggested that the compensation of the damaged striato-thalamo-cortical circuit is focused on the intact thalamo-rubro-cerebellar pathway as seen during presymptomatic Parkinson, paradoxical movement and sensorimotor rhythm (SMR). Indeed, the size of the red nucleus, connecting the cerebellum with the cerebral cortex, is larger in Parkinson’s disease patients suggesting an increased activation of this brain area. Therefore, the red nucleus was examined in MPTP-induced parkinsonian marmoset monkeys during the presymptomatic stage and after SMR activation by neurofeedback training. We found a reverse significant correlation between the early expression of parkinsonian signs and the size of the parvocellular part of the red nucleus, which is predominantly present in human and non-human primates. In quadrupedal animals it consists mainly of the magnocellular part. Furthermore, SMR activation, that mitigated parkinsonian signs, further increased the size of the red nucleus in the marmoset monkey. This plasticity of the brain helps to compensate for dysfunctional movement control and can be a promising target for compensatory treatment with neurofeedback technology, vibrotactile stimulation or DBS in order to improve the quality of life for Parkinson’s disease patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number880
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2019

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