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Prog Brain Res. 2010;183:149-67. doi: 10.1016/S0079-6123(10)83008-0.

The role of dopamine in modulating the structure and function of striatal circuits.

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Department of Physiology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA.


Dopamine (DA) is a key regulator of action selection and associative learning. The striatum has long been thought to be a major locus of DA action in this process. Although all striatal cell types express G protein-coupled receptors for DA, the effects of DA on principal medium spiny neurons (MSNs) understandably have received the most attention. In the two principal classes of MSN, DA receptor expression diverges, with striatonigral MSNs robustly expressing D(1) receptors and striatopallidal MSNs expressing D(2) receptors. In the last couple of years, our understanding of how these receptors and the intracellular signalling cascades that they couple to modulate dendritic physiology and synaptic plasticity has rapidly expanded, fuelled in large measure by the development of new optical and genetic tools. These tools also have enabled a rapid expansion of our understanding of the striatal adaptations in models of Parkinson's disease. This chapter highlights some of the major advances in these areas.

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