In order to evaluate the specific interactions between cortical oscillations and basal ganglia-spiking activity under normal and parkinsonian conditions, we examined the relationship between frontal cortex electroencephalographic (EEG) signals and simultaneously recorded neuronal activity in the internal and external segments of the pallidum or the subthalamic nucleus (STN) in 3 rhesus monkeys. After we made recordings in the normal state, hemiparkinsonism was induced with intracarotid injections of the dopaminergic neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) in one animal, followed by additional recordings. Spiking activity in the pallidum and STN was associated with significant shifts in the level of EEG synchronization. We also found that the spectral power of beta- and gamma-band EEG rhythms covaried positively before the basal ganglia spikes but did not covary or covaried negatively thereafter. In parkinsonism, changes in cortical synchronization and phase coherence were reduced in EEG segments aligned to STN spikes, whereas both were increased in data segments aligned to pallidal spikes. Spiking-related changes in beta/gamma-band covariance were reduced. The findings indicate that basal ganglia and cortex interact in the processing of cortical rhythms that contain oscillations across a broad range of frequencies and that this interaction is severely disrupted in parkinsonism.
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