Movement discrimination by single cells in the human pallidum characterised by hidden Markov models

N. M. Branston, W. El-Deredy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In patients undergoing pallidotomy for Parkinson's disease, we recorded extracellularly from single neurons in the two internal segments (GPii, GPie) and the external segment (GPe) of the globus pallidus (GP) in response to active (cued) movements of the contralateral wrist, elbow or ankle. The patterns of cell activity occurring both before and after movement onset were analysed using hidden Markov models (HMMs) and clustered by movement type using the generative topographical mapping algorithm. Cluster separation was quantified in order to measure a cell's ability to discriminate between movements. Statistical analysis of variance indicated a significant regional gradient (GPii>GPie>GPe) of movement discrimination, while cells in all regions differentiated better between movements of different joints (wrist, elbow or ankle) than between flexion and extension of the same joint. We found that GP cells generally showed distinguishable firing patterns corresponding to more than one type of movement per cell, in support of the hypothesis that cells in these regions of the basal ganglia are not involved in preparation or execution of a single type of movement but participate in many different movements, analogous to the hidden units of a neural network. Our results also indicate that cell activity both preceding a movement and during its execution may be modelled by HMMs with only a small number of states.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)117-121
    Number of pages4
    JournalExperimental brain research
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


    • Basal ganglia
    • Clustering
    • Hidden Markov models
    • Parkinson's disease
    • Unit responses


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