Dynamics of synaptic transmission between fast-spiking interneurons and striatal projection neurons of the direct and indirect pathways

J Neurosci. 2010 Mar 3;30(9):3499-507. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5139-09.2010.


The intrastriatal microcircuit is a predominantly inhibitory GABAergic network comprised of a majority of projection neurons [medium spiny neurons (MSNs)] and a minority of interneurons. The connectivity within this microcircuit is divided into two main categories: lateral connectivity between MSNs, and inhibition mediated by interneurons, in particular fast spiking (FS) cells. To understand the operation of striatum, it is essential to have a good description of the dynamic properties of these respective pathways and how they affect different types of striatal projection neurons. We recorded from neuronal pairs, triplets, and quadruplets in slices of rat and mouse striatum and analyzed the dynamics of synaptic transmission between MSNs and FS cells. Retrograde fluorescent labeling and transgenic EGFP (enhanced green fluorescent protein) mice were used to distinguish between MSNs of the direct (striatonigral) and indirect (striatopallidal) pathways. Presynaptic neurons were stimulated with trains of action potentials, and activity-dependent depression and facilitation of synaptic efficacy was recorded from postsynaptic neurons. We found that FS cells provide a strong and homogeneously depressing inhibition of both striatonigral and striatopallidal MSN types. Moreover, individual FS cells are connected to MSNs of both types. In contrast, both MSN types receive sparse and variable, depressing and facilitating synaptic transmission from nearby MSNs. The connection probability was higher for pairs with presynaptic striatopallidal MSNs; however, the variability in synaptic dynamics did not depend on the types of interconnected MSNs. The differences between the two inhibitory pathways were clear in both species and at different developmental stages. Our findings show that the two intrastriatal inhibitory pathways have fundamentally different dynamic properties that are, however, similarly applied to both direct and indirect striatal projections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Corpus Striatum / cytology
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Interneurons / cytology
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / cytology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Presynaptic Terminals / physiology
  • Rats
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • enhanced green fluorescent protein
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid