Affiliations: Université Grenoble Alpes, LPNC, F-38040, Grenoble & CNRS, LPNC UMR 5105, F-38040, Grenoble, France | Institut Universitaire de France | Laboratoire de Psychologie Sociale et Cognitive, CNRS UMR 6024, Clermont Université, Université Blaise Pascal, France | CHU Clermont-Ferrand, Service de Neurologie A, F-63003 Clermont-Ferrand, France | CHU Clermont-Ferrand, Service d'Ophtalmologie, F-63003 Clermont-Ferrand, France | CHU Clermont-Ferrand, Service de Psychiatrie de l'Adulte A, F-63003 Clermont-Ferrand, France
Note:  Correspondence to: Martial Mermillod, Université Pierre Mendès France, Laboratoire de Psychologie et NeuroCognition, BP 47, 38040 Grenoble Cedex 9, France. E-mail: Martial.Mermillod@upmf-grenoble.fr
Abstract: Background: Deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nuclei (STN-DBS) is an effective treatment for the most severe forms of Parkinson's disease (PD) and is intended to suppress these patients' motor symptoms. However, be it in association with Dopamine Replacement Therapy (DRT) or not, STN-DBS may in some cases induce addictive or emotional disorders. Objective: In the current study, we suggest that PD patients suffer from emotional deficits that have not been revealed in previous studies because in those experiments the stimuli were displayed for a time long enough to allow patients to have recourse to perceptual strategies in order to recognize the emotional facial expressions (EFE). Methods: The aim of the current article is to demonstrate the existence of emotional disorders in PD by using a rapid presentation of the visual stimuli (200-ms display time) which curtails their perceptual analysis, and to determine whether STN-DBS, either associated or not associated with DRT, has an impact on the recognition of emotions. Results: The results show that EFE recognition performance depends on both STN-DBS (‘on’ vs. ‘off’) and medication (‘on’ vs. ‘off’), but also that these variables have an interactive influence on EFE recognition performance. Moreover, we also reveal how these EFE impairments depend on different spatial frequencies perceptual channels (related to different cortical vs. subcortical neural structures). Conclusions: The effect of PD without therapy seems to be particularly acute for LSF emotional faces, possibly due to a subcortical dysfunction. However, our results indicate that the joint action of STN-DBS and DRT could also disrupt recognition of emotional expressions at the level of occipito-temporal cortical areas (processing HSF visual information) inducing broad global impairment of EFE at the level of HSF visual channels.
Keywords: Parkinson's disease, emotions, dopamine replacement therapy, deep brain stimulation, spatial frequency information