Send to

Choose Destination
Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 1985 Summer;9(2):283-97.

Activity of dopamine-containing substantia nigra neurons in freely moving cats.


The present series of studies examined the activity of presumed dopamine-containing neurons in the substantia nigra of freely moving cats. These neurons were found to have a slow (1-9 spikes/sec) discharge rate, unusually long duration action potentials (2-4 msec) and frequently fired in bursts with progressive decreases in the amplitude of the action potential within the burst. These neurons showed no significant change in their activity across the sleep-waking cycle, and showed no changes in activity with phasic movement. Most units were unresponsive to olfactory, noxious, tactile, auditory and visual stimulation, when unit activity was integrated over several seconds following stimulus presentation. However, phasic auditory and visual stimuli produced a period of excitation lasting approximately 120 msec after a delay of about 80 msec. The period of excitation was followed by a period of inhibition lasting approximately 60 msec. Presumed dopamine-containing substantia nigra units showed no significant circadian changes in activity. The firing rates of these units were inhibited by dopamine agonists, including the direct-acting agonist, apomorphine, the dopamine precursor, L-dihydroxyphenylalanine, a dopamine releasing agent, d-amphetamine, and a dopamine reuptake blocker, bupropion, and were excited by a dopamine receptor blocker, haloperidol. Thus, these neurons show many similarities to dopamine units recorded in anesthetized rats; however, they showed several notable differences as well. Recording the activity of these units in behaving animals allows one to examine behavioral correlates of unit activity. Furthermore, the data (sensory stimulation, pharmacological, etc.) obtained in the unanesthetized preparation are far more relevant to the physiological and pharmacological effects that may occur in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center