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Keywords:

  • 6-Hydroxydopamine;
  • Dopamine;
  • Substantia nigra;
  • Striatum;
  • Single unit recording

Abstract

Activities of spontaneously firing neurons in the globus pallidus of intact rats and rats that survived unilateral lesions of the nigrostriatal pathway for 3 days, 1 week, or 6–11 weeks were compared. No significant differences in neuronal firing rate, firing pattern, and number of cells per pass were observed between chloral hydrate-anesthetized control and lesioned animals. However, in locally anesthetized animals, pallidal cells fired significantly faster than in chloral hydrate-anesthetized animals, and the lesion caused a decrease in the firing rates of pallidal cells 1 week and 6–9 weeks postlesion. In addition, significant differences in the firing pattern of pallidal cells, as determined by the ratio of the mean to median interspike intervals, were seen between locally anesthetized controls and animals surviving 3 days, 1 week, and 6–9 weeks post lesion. This altered firing pattern tended to return to normal with time. The number of cells per pass was not significantly altered by the lesion. Data from this study suggest that, in locally anesthetized animals, the removal of the tonic dopaminergic input to the basal ganglia causes pallidal cells to decrease their firing rates in a time-dependent fashion and causes reversable firing pattern changes. This suggests that tonically active dopamine neurons, probably acting through the striatopallidal pathway, regulate the firing rate and mechanisms controlling the temporal ordering of spontaneous discharges of globus pallidus neurons.