Reciprocal dopamine-glutamate modulation of release in the basal ganglia

Neurochem Int. 1998 Nov;33(5):383-97. doi: 10.1016/s0197-0186(98)00052-7.


Dopaminergic and glutamatergic transmissions have long been known to interact at multiple levels in the basal ganglia to modulate motor and cognitive functions. One important aspect of their interactions is represented by the reciprocal modulation of release. This topic has been the object of interest since the late 70's, particularly in the striatum and in midbrain dopaminergic areas (substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area). Analysis of glutamate-dopamine interactions in the control of each other's release is complicated by the fact that both glutamate and dopamine act on multiple receptor subtypes which can exert different effects. Therefore, glutamatergic modulation of dopamine release has been reviewed by analyzing the effects of glutamatergic selective receptor agonists and antagonists in the striatum (both motor and limbic portions) and in midbrain dopaminergic areas, as revealed by in vitro (slices, cell cultures, synaptosomes) and in vivo (push-pull, microdialysis and voltammetry techniques) experimental approaches. The same approach has been followed for dopaminergic modulation of glutamate release. The facilitatory nature of glutamate modulating both presynaptic and dendritic dopamine release has clearly emerged from in vitro studies. However, evidence is presented that, at least in the striatum and in the nucleus accumbens of awake rats, glutamate-mediated inhibitory effects may also occur. In vitro and in vivo experiments in the striatum and midbrain dopaminergic areas mainly depict dopamine as an inhibitory modulator of glutamate release. However, in vivo studies reporting dopamine D1 receptor mediated facilitatory effects are also considered. Therefore, the general notion that glutamate and dopamine act oppositely to regulate each other's release, is only partly supported by the available data. Conversely, the nature of the interaction between the two neurotransmitters seems to vary depending on the experimental approach, the brain area considered and the subtype of receptor involved.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basal Ganglia / metabolism*
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Substantia Nigra / metabolism


  • Glutamic Acid
  • Dopamine