The substantia nigra as a site of synaptic integration of functionally diverse information arising from the ventral pallidum and the globus pallidus in the rat

M. D. Bevan*, A. D. Smith, J. P. Bolam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations

Abstract

Voluntary behaviour in mammals requires the integration of information from different parts of the cerebral cortex, notably the limbic, associative and sensorimotor areas, in a neural network that eventually controls the muscles. One region of the brain that has been proposed to subserve such a function are the basal ganglia which receive inputs from all cortical areas. Although information from different cortical areas passes through the basal ganglia as a series of separate parallel pathways there are several sites where integration of the diverse information could occur. In this study we identify a neural network at the synaptic level that may underlie a powerful mechanism for the integration, within the basal ganglia, of the diverse types of information arising from the cortex. By double anterograde tracing and immunocytochemistry at both the light and electron microscopic levels, we show that individual neurons in the substantia nigra pars reticulata and dopaminergic neurons in the pars compacta each receive multiple GABAergic synaptic inputs both from neurons in the ventral pallidum (which receive input from limbic areas via the nucleus accumbens) and from neurons in the globus pallidus (which receive input from associative and sensorimotor cortices via the neostriatum. Thus, information subserving functions such as emotion, motivation, cognition and movement converges onto basal ganglia output neurons, leading eventually to the muscles, and also on to the dopaminergic neurons which themselves subserve an integrative role by modulating the flow of information from the cortex through the basal ganglia at the level of the neostriatum and nucleus accumbens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-12
Number of pages8
JournalNeuroscience
Volume75
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

Keywords

  • GABA
  • basal ganglia
  • convergence
  • dopaminergic neurons
  • electron microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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