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Eur J Neurosci. 2001 Jul;14(2):373-81.

Effect of microiontophoretic application of dopamine on subthalamic nucleus neuronal activity in normal rats and in rats with unilateral lesion of the nigrostriatal pathway.

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Laboratoire de Neurosciences Précliniques, INSERM U.318, CHU, Pavillon B, B.P. 217, 38043 Grenoble Cedex 09, France.


The subthalamic nucleus (STN) receives dopamine inputs from the substantia nigra but their implication in the pathophysiology of parkinsonism is still debated. Extracellular microrecordings were used to study the effect of microiontophoretic injection of dopamine and the D1 receptor agonist SKF 38393 on the activity of STN neurons in normal and 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned rats under urethane anaesthesia. Dopamine and SKF induced an increase in the firing rate of the majority of STN neurons in both normal and 6-OHDA rats. In rats with 6-OHDA lesions, the percentage of firing rate increase did not differ from that of controls. When GABA, glutamate and dopamine were all applied to the same individual STN neurons, GABA induced an inhibitory effect and glutamate and dopamine caused an excitatory effect in both groups. This excitatory response was suppressed by the application of GABA. Systemic administration of apomorphine provoked a decrease in the firing rate of STN neurons in rats with 6-OHDA lesions. These results show that dopamine exerts an excitatory influence on STN neurons, suggesting that the inhibitory effect induced by the systemic injection of apomorphine is due to the GABAergic inputs from the globus pallidus as predicted by the current model of basal ganglia organization. In addition, we show that dopamine, GABA and glutamate can act on the same STN neuron and that GABA can reverse the excitatory effect of dopamine and glutamate, suggesting the predominant influence of GABAergic inputs to the subthalamic nucleus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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