Effects of local connectivity on striatal function: stimulation and analysis of a model

Synapse. 1995 Aug;20(4):281-98. doi: 10.1002/syn.890200402.


Neuronal population activity was investigated by computer simulation of a network model based on the neostriatum. Three network topologies were studied, based on different assumptions about the synaptic connectivity among medium spiny neurons. In all networks neurons were interconnected by inhibitory synapses. The connectivity was either symmetric, in which case all connections between cells were reciprocal and equal in strength; or asymmetric. Simulations showed that networks with symmetric connectivity receiving randomly distributed afferent excitation produced stationary spatial activity patterns. In contrast, asymmetric connectivity in homogeneous networks produced slow travelling-wave activity across the network. We suggest that the shape of the medium spiny neurons is an important determinant of synaptic connectivity and that changes in the shape of these neurons caused by Huntington's disease would result in asymmetric connectivity. Slow travelling-wave activity produced by asymmetric connectivity in the neostriatum could explain some aspects of the choreic movement and some electromyographic features seen in Huntington's patients.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation*
  • Corpus Striatum / cytology
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / physiopathology
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / cytology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology