Prefrontal cortex-basal ganglia circuits in the rat: involvement of ventral pallidum and subthalamic nucleus

Synapse. 1998 Aug;29(4):363-70. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2396(199808)29:4<363::AID-SYN8>3.0.CO;2-3.


The core of the nucleus accumbens (NAcc core) is the principal input structure to the basal ganglia circuitry for the prelimbic and medial orbital areas (PL/MO) of the prefrontal cortex. As is now well recognized in the rat, the main basal ganglia output of this prefrontal channel is the dorsomedial part of the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNR) and not the ventral pallidum as previously suggested. There is evidence suggesting that the ventral pallidum is rather involved with the subthalamic nucleus (STN) in an indirect NAcc-SNR pathway. Indeed, we have recently shown that the NAcc core sends an inhibitory input to the lateral ventral pallidum (VPl), which projects to the medial STN. In the present study, we injected biocytin into the medial STN, at a site where neurons presented an inhibitory response to VPl stimulation. This produced anterogradely labelled fibres in the medial SNR and in the VPl. Furthermore, the stimulation of the VPl induced an inhibition in a majority of the STN cells identified, by the antidromic activation method, as projecting to SNR (76.6%) and/or back to the VPl (72.7%). In conclusion, these data further demonstrate the existence of an indirect striato-nigral pathway in the PL/MO channel and indicate that VPl is involved in an inhibitory feedback circuit, which modulates the discharge of medial STN. These results indicate that the medial STN is implicated in the limbic/cognitive functions of the basal ganglia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Basal Ganglia / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Globus Pallidus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology
  • Thalamic Nuclei / cytology
  • Thalamic Nuclei / physiology*