Differential innervation of direct- and indirect-pathway striatal projection neurons

Neuron. 2013 Jul 24;79(2):347-60. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.05.014. Epub 2013 Jun 27.


The striatum integrates information from multiple brain regions to shape motor learning. The two major projection cell types in striatum target different downstream basal ganglia targets and have opposing effects on motivated behavior, yet differential innervation of these neuronal subtypes is not well understood. To examine whether input specificity provides a substrate for information segregation in these circuits, we used a monosynaptic rabies virus system to generate brain-wide maps of neurons that form synapses with direct- or indirect-pathway striatal projection neurons. We discovered that sensory cortical and limbic structures preferentially innervated the direct pathway, whereas motor cortex preferentially targeted the indirect pathway. Thalamostriatal input, dopaminergic input, as well as input from specific cortical layers, was similar onto both pathways. We also confirm synaptic innervation of striatal projection neurons by the raphe and pedunculopontine nuclei. Together, these findings provide a framework for guiding future studies of basal ganglia circuit function.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / chemistry
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Corpus Striatum / chemistry
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Female
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Nerve Net / chemistry
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / chemistry
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neurons / chemistry
  • Neurons / physiology*