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J Neurosci. 2000 Sep 1;20(17):6728-33.

Postural and anticonvulsant effects of inhibition of the rat subthalamic nucleus.

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  • 1Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience and Department of Pharmacology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20007, USA. Dave_Dybdal@yahoo.com

Abstract

The subthalamic nucleus (STN) plays a crucial role as a regulator of basal ganglia outflow by providing excitatory glutamatergic input into the two output nuclei of the basal ganglia, substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNpr), and entopeduncular nucleus. This study examined the effects of suppressing activity in the STN of the awake, behaving rat. Specifically, we evaluated the effects of unilateral and bilateral focal inhibition of STN on posture, locomotion, and susceptibility to limbic motor seizures. Unilateral microinjection of a GABA(A) receptor agonist (muscimol, 200 pmol) into STN produced a site-dependent contralaterally directed postural asymmetry without locomotor activation. This effect differed from responses produced by the same dose of muscimol placed into SNpr, which included locomotor activation in addition to contralaterally directed postural asymmetry. Locomotor activation and postural asymmetry were obtained also after blockade of glutamate transmission in SNpr by the unilateral application of kynurenate (100 nmol). Our observation that STN inhibition did not induce the locomotor activation characteristic of SNpr inhibition suggests that there are glutamatergic inputs to SNpr, other than those from STN, that are responsible for controlling locomotion. Bilateral, but not unilateral, injection of muscimol (200 pmol) into STN protected against limbic motor seizures evoked either by intravenous bicuculline or by focal application of bicuculline into anterior piriform cortex (area tempestas). These results demonstrate that focal inhibition of STN reproduces the postural asymmetry and anticonvulsant actions that are obtained with the inhibition of SNpr. This provides behavioral support for the concept that STN contributes a crucial tonic excitatory (glutamatergic) drive to the rat SNpr.

PMID:
10964979
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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