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History of Neurology
September 2006

History of the Corpus Luysii: 1865-1995

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital Maastricht, European Graduate School of Neuroscience (EURON), Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Arch Neurol. 2006;63(9):1340-1342. doi:10.1001/archneur.63.9.1340

The subthalamic nucleus (STN), also known as the corpus Luysii, is a popular surgical target for deep brain stimulation (DBS) in patients with advanced Parkinson disease (PD).1 The relief of movement disability by STN stimulation is predictable because the STN is a critical part of the brain's motor circuit.2 This important, but relatively small, brain region has an interesting history. It was initially named erroneously, and clinically it was associated only with hyperkinesias, including hemiballismus. In addition, researchers speculated for decades that the STN efferents were inhibitory. Now we know that the STN has a major role in hypokinetic disorders, including PD, and that its efferents are excitatory, using glutamate as the neurotransmitter. The STN is the only glutamatergic nucleus in the basal ganglia.

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