Selective innervation of neostriatal interneurons by a subclass of neuron in the globus pallidus of the rat

Mark D. Bevan*

*Corresponding author for this work

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268 Scopus citations


A subpopulation of neurons in the globus pallidus projects to the neostriatum, which is the major recipient of afferent information to the basal ganglia. Given the moderate nature of this projection, we hypothesized that the pallidostriatal projection might exert indirect but powerful control over principal neuron activity by targeting interneurons, which comprise only a small percentage of neostriatal neurons. This was tested by the juxtacellular labeling and recording of pallidal neurons in combination with immunolabeling of postsynaptic neurons. In addition to innervating the subthalamic nucleus and output nuclei, 6 of 23 labeled pallidal neurons projected to the neostriatum. Both the firing characteristics and the extent of the axonal arborization in the neostriatum were variable. However, light and electron microscopic analysis of five pallidostriatal neurons revealed that each neuron selectively innervated neostriatal interneurons. A large proportion of the boutons of an individual axon (19-66%) made contact with parvalbumin-immunoreactive interneurons. An individual parvalbumin- immunoreactive neuron (n = 27) was apposed on average by 6.7 boutons (SD = 6.1) from a single pallidal axon (n = 2). Individual pallidostriatal boutons typically possessed more than one symmetrical synaptic specialization. In addition, 3-32% of boutons of axons from four of five pallidal neurons contacted nitric oxide synthase-immunoreactive neurons. Descending collaterals of pallidostriatal neurons were also found to make synaptic contact with dopaminergic and GABAergic neurons of the substantia nigra. These data imply that during periods of cortical activation, individual pallidal neurons may influence the activity of GABAergic interneurons of the neostriatum (which are involved in feed-forward inhibition and synchronization of principle neuron activity) while simultaneously patterning neuronal activity in basal ganglia downstream of the neostriatum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9438-9452
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 1998


  • Cortex
  • Feed-forward inhibition
  • Globus pallidus
  • Interneuron
  • Neostriatum
  • Synchronization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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