Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS) can manifest as debilitating, medically-refractory tics for which deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the centromedian-parafascicular complex (CM) can provide effective treatment. However, patients have reported benefit with activation of contacts dorsal to the CM and likely in the ventro-lateral thalamus (VL). At our institution, a case of a robust and durable response in a GTS patient required stimulation in the CM and more dorsally. We explore the structural connectivity of thalamic subregions associated with GTS using diffusion MRI tractography. Diffusion weighted images from 40 healthy Human Connectome Project (HCP) subjects and our GTS patient were analyzed. The VL posterior nucleus (VLp) and the CM were used as seeds for whole-brain probabilistic tractography. Leads were localized via linear registration of pre-/post-operative imaging and cross-referenced with the DBS Intrinsic Template Atlas. Tractography revealed high streamline probability from the CM and VLp to the superior frontal gyrus, rostral middle frontal gyrus, brainstem, and ventral diencephalon. Given reported variable responses to DBS along the thalamus, we segmented the VLp based on its connectivity profile. Ventral and dorsal subdivisions emerged, with streamline probability patterns differing between the dorsal VLp and CM. The CM, the most reported DBS target for GTS, and the dorsal VLp have different but seemingly complimentary connectivity profiles as evidenced by our patient who, at 1-year post-operatively, had significant therapeutic benefit. Stimulation of both regions may better target reward and motor circuits, resulting in enhanced symptom control for GTS.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2020.09.024
View details for PubMedID 33045620