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Front Neuroanat. 2010 Oct 25;4:142. doi: 10.3389/fnana.2010.00142. eCollection 2010.

Corticostriatal projection neurons - dichotomous types and dichotomous functions.

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1
Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, College of Medicine, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center Memphis, TN, USA.

Abstract

The mammalian striatum receives its main excitatory input from the two types of cortical pyramidal neurons of layer 5 of the cerebral cortex - those with only intratelencephalic connections (IT-type) and those sending their main axon to the brainstem via the pyramidal tract (PT-type). These two neurons types are present in layer 5 of all cortical regions, and thus they appear to project together to all parts of striatum. These two neuron types, however, differ genetically, morphologically, and functionally, with IT-type neurons conveying sensory and motor planning information to striatum and PT-type neurons conveying an efference copy of motor commands (for motor cortex at least). Anatomical and physiological data for rats, and more recent data for primates, indicate that these two cortical neuron types also differ in their targeting of the two main types of striatal projection neurons, with the IT-type input preferentially innervating direct pathway neurons and the PT-type input preferentially innervating indirect pathway striatal neurons. These findings have implications for understanding how the direct and indirect pathways carry out their respective roles in movement facilitation and movement suppression, and they have implications for understanding the role of corticostriatal synaptic plasticity in adaptive motor control by the basal ganglia.

KEYWORDS:

cortex; projection neurons; spines; striatum; synapses

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