Dopamine receptors set the pattern of activity generated in subthalamic neurons

FASEB J. 2005 Nov;19(13):1771-7. doi: 10.1096/fj.04-3401hyp.


Information processing in the brain requires adequate background neuronal activity. As Parkinson's disease progresses, patients typically become akinetic; the death of dopaminergic neurons leads to a dopamine-depleted state, which disrupts information processing related to movement in a brain area called the basal ganglia. Using agonists of dopamine receptors in the D1 and D2 families on rat brain slices, we show that dopamine receptors in these two families govern the firing pattern of neurons in the subthalamic nucleus, a crucial part of the basal ganglia. We propose a conceptual frame, based on specific properties of dopamine receptors, to account for the dominance of different background firing patterns in normal and dopamine-depleted states.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basal Ganglia / metabolism
  • Basal Ganglia / pathology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Electrophysiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Dopamine / metabolism
  • Receptors, Dopamine / physiology*
  • Sleep
  • Subthalamic Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Transmission


  • Receptors, Dopamine
  • Dopamine