Gamma oscillations in the somatosensory thalamus of a patient with a phantom limb: case report

Diellor Basha Departments of Physiology and
Krembil Western Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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 MSc
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Jonathan O. Dostrovsky Departments of Physiology and
Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital; and
Krembil Western Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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 PhD
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Suneil K. Kalia Surgery, University of Toronto;
Krembil Western Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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 MD, PhD, FRCSC
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Mojgan Hodaie Surgery, University of Toronto;
Krembil Western Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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 MD, MSc, FRCSC
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Andres M. Lozano Surgery, University of Toronto;
Krembil Western Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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 MD, PhD, FRCSC
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William D. Hutchison Departments of Physiology and
Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital; and
Krembil Western Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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The amputation of an extremity is commonly followed by phantom sensations that are perceived to originate from the missing limb. The mechanism underlying the generation of these sensations is still not clear although the development of abnormal oscillatory bursting in thalamic neurons may be involved. The theory of thalamocortical dysrhythmia implicates gamma oscillations in phantom pathophysiology although this rhythm has not been previously observed in the phantom limb thalamus. In this study, the authors report the novel observation of widespread 38-Hz gamma oscillatory activity in spike and local field potential recordings obtained from the ventral caudal somatosensory nucleus of the thalamus (Vc) of a phantom limb patient undergoing deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery. Interestingly, microstimulation near tonically firing cells in the Vc resulted in high-frequency, gamma oscillatory discharges coincident with phantom sensations reported by the patient. Recordings from the somatosensory thalamus of comparator groups (essential tremor and pain) did not reveal the presence of gamma oscillatory activity.

ABBREVIATIONS

AC = anterior commissure; DBS = deep brain stimulation; ET = essential tremor; LFP = local field potential; PC = posterior commissure; PSD = power spectrum density; Vc = ventral caudal somatosensory nucleus of the thalamus; Vim = ventral intermediate nucleus of the cerebellar thalamus; Vop = ventral oral posterior nucleus of the thalamus.
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