Cortico-Basal Ganglia Circuit Function in Psychiatric Disease

Annu Rev Physiol. 2016;78:327-50. doi: 10.1146/annurev-physiol-021115-105355. Epub 2015 Nov 30.


Circuit dysfunction models of psychiatric disease posit that pathological behavior results from abnormal patterns of electrical activity in specific cells and circuits in the brain. Many psychiatric disorders are associated with abnormal activity in the prefrontal cortex and in the basal ganglia, a set of subcortical nuclei implicated in cognitive and motor control. Here we discuss the role of the basal ganglia and connected prefrontal regions in the etiology and treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and depression, emphasizing mechanistic work in rodent behavioral models to dissect causal cortico-basal ganglia circuits underlying discrete behavioral symptom domains relevant to these complex disorders.

Keywords: anxiety; depression; obsessive-compulsive disorder; prefrontal cortex; striatum.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basal Ganglia / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiopathology*