Team Strick

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Circuitry and Brain-Body Interactions | 2021

Basal Ganglia Networks in Parkinson’s Disease

Study Rationale: People with Parkinson’s disease have long been known to display remarkable motor abilities under special circumstances, such as smooth walking with certain visual or auditory cues. This phenomenon is called paradoxical kinesia. In addition, placebos can be surprisingly effective in treating the motor signs of the disease. Team Strick hypothesizes that a specific neuroanatomical substrate supports paradoxical kinesia and the placebo effect. The team plans to define this substrate and investigate its functional organization.

Hypothesis: Team Strick hypothesizes that a specific neural circuit supports paradoxical kinesia and the placebo effect.

Study Design: Team Strick will use cutting-edge techniques to reveal the two distinct brain circuits that enable the basal ganglia to influence the control of voluntary movement in primates. Next, the team will record the electrical and chemical activity of basal ganglia neurons in the best animal model of Parkinson’s disease. In addition, Team Strick will determine the molecular signatures of basal ganglia neurons that are affected by the disease and those that are left intact. Finally, the team will image neural activity in human subjects affected by the disease to determine the full range of strategies that could be used to improve basal ganglia function.

Impact on Diagnosis: Team Strick’s results could re-shape paradigms for therapeutic development and attempts to influence disease progression. Importantly, the team’s results have the potential to use basal ganglia circuits that are untouched by the disease to promote recovery of more normal motor function..

Leadership
Peter Strick, PhD
Coordinating Lead PI

Peter Strick, PhD

University of Pittsburgh
Scott Grafton, MD
Co-Investigator

Scott Grafton, MD

University of California at Santa Barbara
Helen Schwerdt, PhD
Co-Investigator

Helen Schwerdt, PhD

University of Pittsburgh
William Stauffer, PhD
Co-Investigator

William Stauffer, PhD

University of Pittsburgh
Robert Turner, PhD
Co-Investigator

Robert Turner, PhD

University of Pittsburgh
Andreea Bostan, PhD
Project Manager

Andreea Bostan, PhD

University of Pittsburgh

Project Outcomes

Team Strick's project will perform a multidisciplinary characterization of the networks that link the basal ganglia with the cortical motor areas. The information from the team's studies could lead to new therapeutic targets to delay disease progression and new approaches to ameliorate the motor dysfunction that is so disabling for PD patients. View Team Outcomes.

Team Outputs

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Overall Contributions

Here is an overview of how this team’s article findings have contributed to the PD field as of November 2023. There are two different categorizations of these contributions – one by impact to the PD community and a second by scientific theme.

Impact

Theme

Featured Output

Below is an example of a research output from the team that contributes to the ASAP mission of accelerating discoveries for PD.

Detecting rhythmic spiking through the power spectra of point process model residuals

Pathological oscillations in neural activity are common throughout motor-related brain regions in patients with PD. The majority of research on Parkinsonian oscillations has focused on neuronal populations, rather than single neurons. Analysis at the single cell level can help advance understanding of how rhythms impact symptom generation. Yet, finding the rhythmic firing pattern in individual neurons is challenging because of the pauses that occur. Team Strick has developed a novel method of spectral analysis for neurophysiology data that increases the sensitivity of identifying rhythms. In a non-human primate model of PD, this group found that they were able to utilize this method to improve the rate at which pathological rhythms were detected in neurons.

Team Accolades

  • Updates will be posted when available.

Other Team Activities

  • Interest Groups: PD Modeling – NHP Models – Robert Turner (Chair)

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