Steering the Volume of Tissue Activated With a Directional Deep Brain Stimulation Lead in the Globus Pallidus Pars Interna: A Modeling Study With Heterogeneous Tissue Properties

Simeng Zhang, Michele Tagliati, Nader Pouratian, Binith Cheeran, Erika Ross, Erlick Pereira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: To study the effect of directional deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrode configuration and vertical electrode spacing on the volume of tissue activated (VTA) in the globus pallidus, pars interna (GPi). Background: Directional DBS leads may allow clinicians to precisely direct current fields to different functional networks within traditionally targeted brain areas. Modeling the shape and size of the VTA for various monopolar or bipolar configurations can inform clinical programming strategies for GPi DBS. However, many computational models of VTA are limited by assuming tissue homogeneity. Methods: We generated a multimodal image-based detailed anatomical (MIDA) computational model with a directional DBS lead (1.5 mm or 0.5 mm vertical electrode spacing) placed with segmented contact 2 at the ventral posterolateral “sensorimotor” region of the GPi. The effect of tissue heterogeneity was examined by replacing the MIDA tissues with a homogeneous tissue of conductance 0.3 S/m. DBS pulses (amplitude: 1 mA, pulse width: 60 μs, frequency: 130 Hz) were used to produce VTAs. The following DBS contact configurations were tested: single-segment monopole (2B-/Case+), two-segment monopole (2A-/2B-/Case+ and 2B-/3B-/Case+), ring monopole (2A-/2B-/2C-/Case+), one-cathode three-anode bipole (2B-/3A+/3B+/3C+), three-cathode three-anode bipole (2A-/2B-/2C-/3A+/3B+/3C+). Additionally, certain vertical configurations were repeated with 2 mA current amplitude. Results: Using a heterogeneous tissue model affected both the size and shape of the VTA in GPi. Electrodes with both 0.5 mm and 1.5 mm vertical spacing (1 mA) modeling showed that the single segment monopolar VTA was entirely contained within the GPi when the active electrode is placed at the posterolateral “sensorimotor” GPi. Two segments in a same ring and ring settings, however, produced VTAs outside of the GPi border that spread into adjacent white matter pathways, e.g., optic tract and internal capsule. Both stacked monopolar settings and vertical bipolar settings allowed activation of structures dorsal to the GPi in addition to the GPi. Modeling of the stacked monopolar settings with the DBS lead with 0.5 mm vertical electrode spacing further restricted VTAs within the GPi, but the VTA volumes were smaller compared to the equivalent settings of 1.5 mm spacing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number561180
JournalFrontiers in Computational Neuroscience
StatePublished - Sep 25 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • DBS
  • GPi
  • Parkinson's disease
  • VTA
  • current steering
  • directional
  • heterogeneous
  • segmented

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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