Evolving characterization of the human hyperdirect pathway

Clayton S. Bingham, Mikkel V. Petersen, Martin Parent, Cameron C. McIntyre*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperReviewResearchpeer-review


The hyperdirect pathway (HDP) represents the main glutamatergic input to the subthalamic nucleus (STN), through which the motor and prefrontal cerebral cortex can modulate basal ganglia activity. Further, direct activation of the motor HDP is thought to be an important component of therapeutic deep brain stimulation (DBS), mediating the disruption of pathological oscillations. Alternatively, unintended recruitment of the prefrontal HDP may partly explain some cognitive side effects of DBS therapy. Previous work describing the HDP has focused on non-human primate (NHP) histological pathway tracings, diffusion-weighted MRI analysis of human white matter, and electrophysiology studies involving paired cortical recordings with DBS. However, none of these approaches alone yields a complete understanding of the complexities of the HDP. As such, we propose that generative modeling methods hold promise to bridge anatomy and physiology results, from both NHPs and humans, into a more detailed representation of the human HDP. Nonetheless, numerous features of the HDP remain to be experimentally described before model-based methods can simulate corticosubthalamic activity with a high degree of scientific detail. Therefore, the goals of this review are to examine the experimental evidence for HDP projections from across the primate neocortex and discuss new data which are required to improve the utility of anatomical and biophysical models of the human corticosubthalamic system.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBrain Structure & Function
Pages (from-to)353-365
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • Basal ganglia
  • Cortex
  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Hyperdirect pathway
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Subthalamic nucleus
  • Subthalamic Nucleus
  • Humans
  • Deep Brain Stimulation/methods
  • Animals
  • Primates
  • Basal Ganglia
  • Neocortex


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