Basal ganglia circuits are essential for the organization and execution of voluntary actions. Within the striatum, fast-spiking interneurons (FSIs) are thought to tightly regulate the activity of medium-spiny projection neurons (MSNs) through feed-forward inhibition, yet few studies have investigated the functional contributions of FSIs in behaving animals. We recorded presumed MSNs and FSIs together with motor cortex and globus pallidus (GP) neurons, in rats performing a simple choice task. MSN activity was widely distributed across the task sequence, especially near reward receipt. By contrast, FSIs showed a coordinated pulse of increased activity as chosen actions were initiated, in conjunction with a sharp decrease in GP activity. Both MSNs and FSIs were direction selective, but neighboring MSNs and FSIs showed opposite selectivity. Our findings suggest that individual FSIs participate in local striatal information processing, but more global disinhibition of FSIs by GP is important for initiating chosen actions while suppressing unwanted alternatives.
(c) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.