Autopallidotomy: From Colloquial Term to Scientific Theory

Stuart J. McCarter, Rodolfo Savica

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Levodopa-induced dyskinesia (LID), a frequent complication of Parkinson's disease (PD), occurs in ∼30% of patients after five years' treatment with levodopa. In atypical parkinsonism, LID occurs less frequently than in PD. Lower frequency of LID in atypical parkinsonism has traditionally been attributed to lower amounts of levodopa used by these patients; however, recent studies have shown lower frequency of LID in atypical parkinsonism compared with PD when adjusting for levodopa dose. The mechanism of LID is complex but requires pulsatile levodopa stimulation, progressive presynaptic dopaminergic degeneration, and a relatively intact postsynaptic dopaminergic system. The globus pallidus internus (GPi), the main inhibitory nucleus of the basal ganglia, may play a major role in the development and treatment of LID. Surgical lesioning of the posteroventral GPi is directly antidyskinetic; animal models showing GPi-associated striatal neurons are directly responsible for the development of LID. However, other cortical areas, particularly the primary sensory and motor cortices may also play a role in LID. In some cases of atypical parkinsonism, particularly progressive supranuclear palsy and corticobasal degeneration, severe degeneration of the GPi, a so-called 'autopallidotomy,' may explain the absence of LID in these patients. In other atypical parkinsonisms, such as PD dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies, the lower incidence of LID may partly be attributed to more striatal degeneration but likely also relates to the degeneration of the motor cortex and resultant network dysfunction. Overall, atypical parkinsonism serves as a natural model that may ultimately reveal more effective therapies for LID.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2009-2013
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Parkinson's disease
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2022


  • Dyskinesia
  • Parkinson's disease
  • dementia
  • parkinsonism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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