Parvalbumin-containing GABAergic neurons in the basal ganglia output system of the rat.


The output of the basal ganglia is directed through the entopeduncular nucleus (EPN) and the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNR) and pars lateralis (SNL), which provide a gamma-aminobutyric acidergic (GABAergic) projection to various nuclei of the thalamus and brainstem. Although many neurons within the SNR and EPN have been described as modality specific, the morphological and neurochemical similarities preclude their precise identification. In the present study, the immunocytochemical localization of parvalbumin, a calcium-binding protein, is used in combination with axonal tracing to verify neuronal heterogeneity within the SNR, SNL, and EPN. The results reveal that the majority of neurons in all three centers contain parvalbumin. The parvalbumin-containing neurons are distributed in the caudal two-thirds of the EPN, the rostral part of the SNL, and the lateral two-thirds of the entire rostrocaudal extent of the SNR, the areas involved in sensorimotor function of the basal ganglia. Moreover, the nigrothalamic, nigrocollicular, and EPN-thalamic neurons possess parvalbumin immunoreactivity, whereas the EPN-habenular neurons are devoid of parvalbumin immunoreactivity. The results indicate a neurochemical heterogeneity within the GABAergic output neurons of the basal ganglia and suggest that the parvalbumin-containing neurons of the SNR, SNL, and EPN are the tonically active output neurons that form a major link in the disinhibitory neuronal circuit of the basal ganglia, especially that concerned with sensorimotor function.

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@article{Rajakumar1994ParvalbumincontainingGN, title={Parvalbumin-containing GABAergic neurons in the basal ganglia output system of the rat.}, author={Nagalingam Rajakumar and Kost V. Elisevich and B. A. Flumerfelt}, journal={The Journal of comparative neurology}, year={1994}, volume={350 2}, pages={324-36} }