Functional significance of the cortico-subthalamo-pallidal 'hyperdirect' pathway

Neurosci Res. 2002 Jun;43(2):111-7. doi: 10.1016/s0168-0102(02)00027-5.


How the motor-related cortical areas modulate the activity of the output nuclei of the basal ganglia is an important issue for understanding the mechanisms of motor control by the basal ganglia. The cortico-subthalamo-pallidal 'hyperdirect' pathway conveys powerful excitatory effects from the motor-related cortical areas to the globus pallidus, bypassing the striatum, with shorter conduction time than effects conveyed through the striatum. We emphasize the functional significance of the 'hyperdirect' pathway and propose a dynamic 'center-surround model' of basal ganglia function in the control of voluntary limb movements. When a voluntary movement is about to be initiated by cortical mechanisms, a corollary signal conveyed through the cortico-subthalamo-pallidal 'hyperdirect' pathway first inhibits large areas of the thalamus and cerebral cortex that are related to both the selected motor program and other competing programs. Then, another corollary signal through the cortico-striato-pallidal 'direct' pathway disinhibits their targets and releases only the selected motor program. Finally, the third corollary signal possibly through the cortico-striato-external pallido-subthalamo-internal pallidal 'indirect' pathway inhibits their targets extensively. Through this sequential information processing, only the selected motor program is initiated, executed and terminated at the selected timing, whereas other competing programs are canceled.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basal Ganglia / physiology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Globus Pallidus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Movement / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Subthalamic Nucleus / physiology*