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Brain Res. 2006 May 30;1092(1):108-16. Epub 2006 Jun 6.

Ascorbate modulation of sensorimotor processing in striatum of freely moving rats.

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Program in Neuroscience, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Psychology Building, 1101 E. Tenth Street, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405-7007, USA.


The striatum, which receives projections from the entire cortical mantle, is highly responsive to sensorimotor activity. Because either systemic or intra-striatal injections of ascorbate (AA) influence behavior known to involve striatal circuits, it is possible that the level of striatal AA, which is known to fluctuate with behavioral activation, directly alters striatal neuronal processing. To test this hypothesis, we recorded the activity of 94 presumed medium spiny striatal neurons in behaving rats treated with AA or vehicle and examined firing rate during periods of quiescence and sensorimotor stimulation (e.g., stroking of the whiskers, mid-back, and rump). Slow-scan voltammetry was used in separate rats to determine the extent to which AA treatment elevated striatal AA. Vehicle-treated rats had relatively slow basal firing rates at rest that routinely increased during sensorimotor stimulation. Comparable results were obtained in rats treated with 100 mg/kg AA, which failed to alter AA levels in striatum. Dose-dependent increases in striatal AA, however, occurred after injection of 500 and 1000 mg/kg AA, and at these doses, there was a significant decrease in the number of sensorimotor-related excitations. In fact, treatment with 1000 mg/kg AA reversed a significant proportion of excitations to inhibitions. Our results substantiate the role of the striatum in sensorimotor processing and emphasize extracellular AA as a modulator of striatal neuronal function.

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