Afferent and efferent relationships of the basal ganglia

Ciba Found Symp. 1984;107:3-29. doi: 10.1002/9780470720882.ch2.


A survey of the known circuitry of the basal ganglia leads to the following conclusions. (1) No complete account can yet be given of the neural pathways by which the basal ganglia affect the bulbospinal motor apparatus. Channels of exit from the basal ganglia originate from the internal pallidal segment, the pars reticulata of the substantia nigra, and the subthalamic nucleus, and each of these is directed in part rostrally to the cerebral cortex by way of the thalamus, in part caudally to the midbrain. The postsynaptic extension of the mesencephalic channels to bulbar and spinal motor neurons is largely unknown. Since the ascending channels are collectively of greatest volume, the notion remains plausible that the basal ganglia act in considerable part by modulating motor mechanisms of the cortex. (2) Recent findings in the rat suggest that the striatum is subdivided into a ventromedial, limbic system-afferented region and a dorsolateral, 'non-limbic' region largely corresponding to the main distribution of corticostriatal fibres from the motor cortex. These two subdivisions appear to give rise to different striatofugal lines, the outflow from the limbic-afferented sector partly re-entering the circuitry of the limbic system. (3) The limbic-afferented striatal sector suggests itself as an interface between the motivational and the more strictly motor aspects of movement. This suggestion is strengthened by evidence that the 'limbic striatum' seems enabled by its striatonigral efferents to modulate not only the source of its own dopamine innervation but also that of a large additional striatal region.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basal Ganglia / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Corpus Striatum / anatomy & histology
  • Extrapyramidal Tracts / anatomy & histology
  • Globus Pallidus / anatomy & histology
  • Haplorhini
  • Humans
  • Limbic System / anatomy & histology
  • Nucleus Accumbens / anatomy & histology
  • Rats
  • Substantia Nigra / anatomy & histology
  • Thalamic Nuclei / anatomy & histology