The subthalamic nucleus (STN) is involved in motor and cognitive performance through its key role in the basal ganglia-thalamocortical circuits, but how these different modalities (motor and cognition) are controlled (similar vs. dissimilar) has not yet been elucidated. In the present study, the effects of bilateral STN deep brain stimulation (DBS) on motor and cognitive performance were investigated in a rat model of Parkinson disease (PD). After being trained in a choice reaction time (CRT) task, rats received bilateral injections of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) into the striatum. One group of 6-OHDA animals was implanted bilaterally with stimulation electrodes at the level of the STN. Stimulations were performed at 130 Hz (frequency), 60 mu s (pulse width), and varying amplitudes of 1, 3, 30, and 150 mu A during the CRT task. Finally, rats were sacrificed and the brains processed for staining to determine the dopaminergic lesion (TH immunohistochemistry) and localization of the electrode tip (HE histochemistry). Bilateral 6-OHDA infusion significantly decreased (70%) the number of dopaminergic cells in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) and increased motor time (MT), proportion of premature responding (PR), and reaction time (RT). Bilateral STN stimulation with an amplitude of 3 mu A normalized 6-OHDA-induced deficits in PR and RT. Simulation with an amplitude of 30 mu A reversed the lesion-induced deficits in MT and RT. Our data show for the first time that bilateral STN stimulation differentially affected the 6-OHDA-induced motor and cognitive deficits. This means that basal ganglia-thalamocortical motor and associative circuits responsible for specific motor and cognitive performance, which are processed through the STN, have unique physiological properties that can acutely and separately be modulated by specific electrical stimuli.