Long-term deep brain stimulation for essential tremor: 12-year clinicopathologic follow-up

Daniel J. DiLorenzo, Joseph Jankovic, Richard K. Simpson, Hidehiro Takei, Suzanne Zein-Eldin Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


We describe the clinical course and postmortem pathological findings in a patient with essential tremor (ET) treated with deep brain stimulation (DBS) for 12 years. This 75 year old woman had a 13-year history of progressive ET prior to implantation of bilateral quadripolar DBS electrodes in the region of her ventral intermediate thalamic nuclei in 1996, producing immediate relief of arm tremor. Histopathological examination of the brain, performed 12 years after the initial implantation, demonstrated electrode catheter tracts rimmed by 20-25 micron fibrous sheaths, with multinucleated giant cells and reactive gliosis. Lymphocytic infiltration was seen by L26 immunoreactivity with CD3 (T cells) staining predominating over CD20 (B cells). Cerebellar axonal spheroids and Purkinje cell loss were found. The minimal foreign body reaction and gliosis around the electrodes 12 years after implantation supports the long-term safety of DBS. The case represents the longest reported follow-up with autopsy examination after DBS and confirmed histological changes associated with ET.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-238
Number of pages7
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 30 2010


  • Clinicopathologic
  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Essential tremor
  • Postmortem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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