Activity of the Caudate Neurons in Humans
Although anatomical and pharmacological studies on the basal ganglia have made a remarkable progress, real functional aspect of the caudate (Cd) nucleus is still mysterious. In the animal experiment, unitary activity of the Cd neurons is correlated with combined stimuli of visual (food demonstration) and motor task (pressing button) in conditioned, trained monkey 1–5,9,10
In order to elucidate some functional meaning of the Cd nucleus, unitary or multiunitary activity of the human Cd neuron was studied during the course of stereotactic thalamotomy for cases with various kinds of tremor. Using depth microrecording as a physiological control method, our stereotactic intervention into the thalamic ventrolateral nuclear mass is accomplished by prefrontal approach, passing the Cd nucleus on the way. Because the electrical activity of the Cd nucleus exhibits very characteristic pattern, it is not difficult to distinguish it from the surrounding structures.6 In this sense, the Cd nucleus is considered to be a pilot nucleus, before entering into the thalamus. Therefore, with the cooperation of the patient, it is also essential to identify Cd neurons in such a way that combined stimulation (visual and motor) provokes specific activity as demonstrated in the higher primate.
KeywordsEssential Tremor Spontaneous Firing Guide Needle Combine Stimulation Combine Stimulus
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