Subpallidal outputs to the nucleus accumbens and the ventral tegmental area: anatomical and electrophysiological studies

Brain Res. 1996 Nov 18;740(1-2):151-61. doi: 10.1016/s0006-8993(96)00859-1.


The goal of this study was to investigate the functional organization of the subpallidal-->accumbens direct and indirect feedback loops by both anatomical and electrophysiological methods. The results of the dextran-conjugated rhodamine injections into the subpallidal area has shown three distinct projections: (1) a substantial pathway from the subpallidal area to the ventral tegmental area, (2) a more diffuse rostral projection from the subpallidal area to the core area of the nucleus accumbens, and (3) a sparse pathway projecting rostrodorsally from the subpallidal area toward the thalamic regions. Electrical or chemical stimulation of the subpallidal region, which was studied by the axonal tracer, evoked inhibitory responses in the majority (60 and 80%, respectively) of the accumbens and ventral tegmental area neurons in a standard extracellular recording study. Less than 1/3 of the accumbens or ventral tegmental area cells showed an increase in the mean firing rate. The majority (77.5%) of all responded neurons had a latency of less than 10 ms. Furthermore, injection of glutamate into the subpallidal area not only altered the firing pattern of the accumbens neurons, but also attenuated their excitatory responses elicited by the electrical stimulation of the ventral subiculum. Our results indicate that the subpallidal area plays a predominantly inhibitory role in the ventral tegmental area-accumbens-subpallidal circuitry, presumably by its GABAergic projections, and may also modulate subicular input into the nucleus accumbens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Tegmentum Mesencephali / physiology*