The Basal Ganglia and involuntary movements: impaired inhibition of competing motor patterns

Arch Neurol. 2003 Oct;60(10):1365-8. doi: 10.1001/archneur.60.10.1365.


The basal ganglia are organized to facilitate voluntary movements and to inhibit competing movements that might interfere with the desired movement. Dysfunction of these circuits can lead to movement disorders that are characterized by impaired voluntary movement, the presence of involuntary movements, or both. Current models of basal ganglia function and dysfunction have played an important role in advancing knowledge about the pathophysiology of movement disorders, but they have not contained elements sufficiently specific to allow for understanding the fundamental differences among different involuntary movements, including chorea, dystonia, and tics. A new model is presented here, building on existing models and data to encompass hypotheses of the fundamental pathophysiologic mechanisms underlying chorea, dystonia, and tics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Basal Ganglia / physiopathology*
  • Chorea / physiopathology
  • Dystonia / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Movement Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Tics / physiopathology