Reduction of apomorphine-induced rotational behaviour by subthalamic lesion in 6-OHDA lesioned rats is associated with a normalization of firing rate and discharge pattern of pars reticulata neurons

Exp Brain Res. 1995;105(1):48-58. doi: 10.1007/BF00242181.


The effect of subthalamic nucleus (STh) lesion on apomorphine-induced rotational behaviour and unit activity of substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr) neurons was studied in normal, sham-control and unilateral 6-OHDA-lesioned rats [SN pars compacta (SNc)-lesioned]. In the latter, contraversive rotational behaviour was greatly reduced by an additional ipsilateral STh lesion. A moderate ipsiversive rotation was observed in rats with a single STh lesion. Concurrently, SN unit extracellular recordings were performed in age-matched normal rats, sham-controls for both lesions, STh-lesioned rats, SNc-lesioned rats, and SNc-lesioned rats with an ipsilateral STh lesion (SNc+STh-lesioned). Pars reticulata neurons had a higher mean firing rate in SNc-lesioned rats than in control rats. Furthermore, 68% of SNr neurons in SNc-lesioned rats had a tonic discharge pattern (against 92.3% in control rats) and 32% a mixed or bursting pattern. After STh lesion, a clear decrease in SNr firing rate was observed in SNc-lesioned rats. Moreover, STh lesion improved interspike interval regularity and decreased the occurrence of bursting patterns. In rats with a single STh lesion, the firing rate was no different from that of the sham-controls but the discharge pattern was more regular. These data show that STh lesion decreased apomorphine-induced rotational behaviour in dopamine-depleted animals. This effect could be related to the suppression of the excitatory effect of STh efferents on the SNr neurons. STh lesion both counterbalanced the increased activity of SNr neurons and regularized their discharge pattern.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apomorphine / pharmacology*
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Electrophysiology
  • Male
  • Movement / drug effects*
  • Oxidopamine / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Substantia Nigra / drug effects*
  • Thalamus / drug effects*


  • Oxidopamine
  • Apomorphine