The Anatomy of the Marmoset Zona Incerta- With Reference to Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson's Disease

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Honours


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Meghan Thomas

Second Advisor

Dr Angus Stewart

Third Advisor

Charles Watson

Fourth Advisor

Christopher Lind


Introduction: The caudal zona incerta may be a more effective target than the subthalamic nucleus for deep brain stimulation in patients with Parkinson's disease. However, the cytoarchitecture of the human zona incerta has not been mapped in detail. The study attempted to analyse the neural chemical characteristics of the zona incerta and the structures involved in caudal zona incerta deep brain stimulation. As appropriate human tissue is currently unavailable, this study mapped, with reference to previous rat zona incerta data, a non-human primate zona incerta that is widely used in Parkinson's disease animal 'Studies with anticipation of extending the non-human primate studies to the human brain in the future. Materials and method: Serial brain sections stereotaxically cut and stained with a number of neuronal markers (calbindin, parvalbumin, calretinin, neurofilament protein SMI32, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate diaphorase, acetylcholinesterase, tyrosine hydroxylase, and Nissl) in the rat (n=1) and in the non-human primate the pygmy marmoset (n= 1) were examined. Results: Four subregions were identified dorsal, ventral, rostral, and caudal of the zona incerta in the marmoset, as seen in the rhesus monkey. The results of the study also indicate that the human target is most likely ventral rather than caudal zona incerta. Conclusion: According to this study the rat is not a suitable animal model for zona incerta deep brain stimulation because of the different immunohistochemical composition to the primate zona incerta. Our long term aim is to conelate the area of optimal deep brain stimulation in humans with concordant areas within the non-human primates and rat.

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