The entopeduncular nucleus (EP) is one of the basal ganglia output nuclei integrating synaptic information from several pathways within the basal ganglia. The firing of EP neurons is modulated by two streams of inhibitory synaptic transmission, the direct pathway from the striatum and the indirect pathway from the globus pallidus. These two inhibitory pathways continuously modulate the firing of EP neurons. However, the link between these synaptic inputs to neuronal firing in the EP is unclear. To investigate this input-output transformation we performed whole-cell and perforated-patch recordings from single neurons in the entopeduncular nucleus in rat brain slices during repetitive stimulation of the striatum and the globus pallidus at frequencies within the in vivo activity range of these neurons. These recordings, supplemented by compartmental modelling, showed that GABAergic synapses from the striatum, converging on EP dendrites, display short-term facilitation and that somatic or proximal GABAergic synapses from the globus pallidus show short-term depression. Activation of striatal synapses during low presynaptic activity decreased postsynaptic firing rate by continuously increasing the inter-spike interval. Conversely, activation of pallidal synapses significantly affected postsynaptic firing during high presynaptic activity. Our data thus suggest that low-frequency striatal output may be encoded as progressive phase shifts in downstream nuclei of the basal ganglia while high-frequency pallidal output may continuously modulate EP firing.
Keywords: GABA; basal ganglia; entopeduncular nucleus; short-term plasticity.
© 2015 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.