Electrophysiological and anatomical observations concerning the pallidostriatal pathway in the rat

R. H. Walker, G. W. Arbuthnott, A. K. Wright

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Anatomical studies in several species have demonstrated a pallidostriatal pathway. We employed electrophysiological and anatomical methods to distinguish the neurones of this pathway from the two pallidocortical groups reported in the rat. Injection of fluorescent retrograde tracers, combined with immunohistochemistry for choline acetyltransferase, provided anatomical evidence of the distinction between neurones of the cholinergic pallidocortical projection and pallidal cells retrogradely labelled from the striatum. Extracellular recordings made in the globus pallidus of halothane-anaesthetised rats provided an electrophysiological description of the pallidostriatal pathway. In some animals neurones of this pathway were distinguished from pallidocortical neurones as a stimulating electrode, situated in the crus cerebri, permitted identification of neurones which projected through this region as well as to the striatum. Neither pallidocortical pathway is reported to have descending axons travelling in the crus cerebri at this point. A preliminary electrophysiological study was carried out in rats in which the dopamine-containing cells of substantia nigra had been destroyed by injections of 6-hydroxydopamine at least 6 months prior to the recording. In the globus pallidus on the lesioned side the mean firing rate of neurones was increased compared with controls. No specific change in firing pattern was noted but the neurones were more responsive to striatal stimulation suggesting that long-term dopamine denervation alters the sensitivity of neurones of globus pallidus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-310
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • 6-hydroxydopamine
  • Cholinergic neurones
  • Dopamine
  • Globus pallidus
  • Pallidostriatal
  • neurones


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