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J Neurophysiol. 2004 Nov;92(5):3069-84.

Role of ionotropic glutamatergic and GABAergic inputs on the firing activity of neurons in the external pallidum in awake monkeys.

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  • 1Deprtmane of Anatomy and Neurobiology, College of Medicine, The University of Tennessee Memphis, 855 Monroe Ave., Memphis, TN 38163, USA.


The neurons in the external segment of the pallidum (GPe) in awake animals maintain a high level of firing activity. The level and pattern of the activity change with the development of basal ganglia disorders including parkinsonism and hemiballism. The GPe projects to most of the nuclei in the basal ganglia. Thus exploring the mechanisms controlling the firing activity is essential for understanding basal ganglia function in normal and pathological conditions. To explore the role of ionotropic glutamatergic and GABAergic inputs to the GPe, unit recordings combined with local injections of receptor antagonists were performed in awake monkeys. Observations on the effects of local application of the alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA)/kainate antagonist 1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-6-nitro-2, 3-dioxo-benzo[f]quinoxaline-7-sulfonamide, the N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) antagonist 3-(2-carboxypiperazin-4-yl)-propyl-1-phosphonic acid, and the GABAA antagonist gabazine as well as the effects of muscimol blockade of the subthalamic nucleus on the spontaneous firing rate, firing patterns, and cortical stimulation induced responses in the GPe suggested the following: sustained glutamatergic and GABAergic inputs control the level of the spontaneous firing of GPe neurons; both AMPA/kainate and NMDA receptors are activated by glutamatergic inputs; some GPe neurons receive glutamatergic inputs originating from areas other than the subthalamic nucleus; no GPe neurons became silent after a combined application of glutamate and GABA antagonists, suggesting that GPe neurons have intrinsic properties or nonionotropic glutamatergic tonic inputs that sustain a fast oscillatory firing or a combination of a fast and a slow oscillatory firing in GPe neurons.

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