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J Neurophysiol. 2000 Mar;83(3):1760-3.

Ratio of inhibited-to-activated pallidal neurons decreases dramatically during passive limb movement in the MPTP-treated monkey.

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Basal Gang, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Unité Mixte de Recherche 5543, Université Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2, 33076 Bordeaux Cedex, France.


Mink advanced the hypothesis in 1996 that the role of the basal ganglia (BG) is primarily one of focused selection; the encouragement of motor mechanisms inducing a desired movement and the inhibition of competing mechanisms. This would imply, in normal subjects, a ratio of inhibited-to-activated (I/A) movement-related globus pallidus pars internalis (GPi) neurons <1 and a drastic decrease of this ratio in the parkinsonian state. 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) intoxication should therefore decrease the specificity of the response of this neuronal population. To test this working hypothesis we studied the activity of GPi neurons in response to passive limb movement in the normal and the parkinsonian monkey. Extracellular unit recordings monitored any correlation between passive limb movements and eventual modifications of the neuronal activity of the GPi in two calm, awake, and drug naive monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) before and after MPTP intoxication. In the normal animal, arm- and leg-related neurons were located in clusters in the medial part of the GPi. The I/A ratio was 0.22. Most GPi cells were linked to a single joint. In the MPTP-treated monkey, the number of movement-related neurons increased, the I/A ratio dropped significantly to 0.03, and most responding cells were linked to several joints. These data, which cannot be explained by the classic "box" model, endorse Mink's hypothesis.

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