Neurotransmitters in the mammalian striatum: neuronal circuits and heterogeneity

Can J Neurol Sci. 1987 Aug;14(3 Suppl):386-94. doi: 10.1017/s0317167100037781.


The major input and output pathways of the mammalian striatum have been well established. Recent studies have identified a number of neurotransmitters used by these pathways as well as by striatal interneurons, and have begun to unravel their synaptic connections. The major output neurons have been identified as medium spiny neurons which contain gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), endogeneous opioids, and substance P. These neurons project to the pallidum and substantia nigra in a topographic and probably chemically organized manner. The major striatal afferents from the cerebral cortex, thalamus, and substantia nigra terminate, at least in part, on these striatal projection neurons. Striatal interneurons contain acetylcholine, GABA, and somatostatin plus neuropeptide Y, and appear to synapse on striatal projection neurons. In recent years, much activity has been directed to the neurochemical and hodological heterogeneities which occur at a macroscopic level in the striatum. This has led to the concept of a patch-matrix organization in the striatum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / analysis
  • Acetylcholine / physiology
  • Animals
  • Corpus Striatum / analysis
  • Corpus Striatum / cytology
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Interneurons / analysis
  • Interneurons / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / analysis
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / analysis
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology*
  • Substance P / analysis
  • Substance P / physiology
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / analysis
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / physiology


  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Substance P
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Acetylcholine