Dystonia is a debilitating disease with few treatment options. One effective option is deep brain stimulation (DBS) to the internal pallidum. While cervical and generalized forms of isolated dystonia have been targeted with a common approach to the posterior third of the nucleus, large-scale investigations regarding optimal stimulation sites and potential network effects have not been carried out. Here, we retrospectively studied clinical results following DBS for cervical and generalized dystonia in a multicenter cohort of 80 patients. We model DBS electrode placement based on pre- and postoperative imaging and introduce an approach to map optimal stimulation sites to anatomical space. Second, we investigate which tracts account for optimal clinical improvements, when modulated. Third, we investigate distributed stimulation effects on a whole-brain functional connectome level. Our results show marked differences of optimal stimulation sites that map to the somatotopic structure of the internal pallidum. While modulation of the striatopallidofugal axis of the basal ganglia accounted for optimal treatment of cervical dystonia, modulation of pallidothalamic bundles did so in generalized dystonia. Finally, we show a common multisynaptic network substrate for both phenotypes in the form of connectivity to the cerebellum and somatomotor cortex. Our results suggest a brief divergence of optimal stimulation networks for cervical vs. generalized dystonia within the pallidothalamic loop that merge again on a thalamo-cortical level and share a common whole-brain network.
Published: Apr 2022