The subthalamic nucleus (STN) is an effective therapeutic target for deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson’s disease (PD), and histamine levels are elevated in the basal ganglia in PD patients. However, the effect of endogenous histaminergic modulation on STN neuronal activities and the neuronal mechanism underlying STN-DBS are unknown. Here, we report that STN neuronal firing patterns are more crucial than firing rates for motor control. Histamine excited STN neurons, but paradoxically ameliorated parkinsonian motor deficits, which we attributed to regularizing firing patterns of STN neurons via the hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide–gated channel 2 (HCN2) channel coupled to the H2 receptor. Intriguingly, DBS increased histamine release in the STN and regularized STN neuronal firing patterns under parkinsonian conditions. HCN2 contributed to the DBS-induced regularization of neuronal firing patterns, suppression of excessive β oscillations, and alleviation of motor deficits in PD. The results reveal an indispensable role for regularizing STN neuronal firing patterns in amelioration of parkinsonian motor dysfunction and a functional compensation for histamine in parkinsonian basal ganglia circuitry. The findings provide insights into mechanisms of STN-DBS as well as potential therapeutic targets and STN-DBS strategies for PD.


Qian-Xing Zhuang, Guang-Ying Li, Bin Li, Chang-Zheng Zhang, Xiao-Yang Zhang, Kang Xi, Hong-Zhao Li, Jian-Jun Wang, Jing-Ning Zhu


Download this citation for these citation managers:

Or, download this citation in these formats:

If you experience problems using these citation formats, send us feedback.