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Neuron. 2012 Jun 21;74(6):1075-86. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.04.027.

Dichotomous organization of the external globus pallidus.

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Medical Research Council Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit, Department of Pharmacology and Oxford Parkinson's Disease Centre, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3TH, UK.


Different striatal projection neurons are the origin of a dual organization essential for basal ganglia function. We have defined an analogous division of labor in the external globus pallidus (GPe) of Parkinsonian rats, showing that the distinct temporal activities of two populations of GPe neuron in vivo are underpinned by distinct molecular profiles and axonal connectivities. A first population of prototypic GABAergic GPe neurons fire antiphase to subthalamic nucleus (STN) neurons, often express parvalbumin, and target downstream basal ganglia nuclei, including STN. In contrast, a second population (arkypallidal neurons) fire in-phase with STN neurons, express preproenkephalin, and only innervate the striatum. This novel cell type provides the largest extrinsic GABAergic innervation of striatum, targeting both projection neurons and interneurons. We conclude that GPe exhibits several core components of a dichotomous organization as fundamental as that in striatum. Thus, two populations of GPe neuron together orchestrate activities across all basal ganglia nuclei in a cell-type-specific manner.

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