Direct and indirect pathways of basal ganglia: A critical reappraisal

Paolo Calabresi, Barbara Picconi, Alessandro Tozzi, Veronica Ghiglieri, Massimiliano Di Filippo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

287 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The basal ganglia are subcortical nuclei controlling voluntary actions and have been implicated in Parkinson's disease (PD). The prevailing model of basal ganglia function states that two circuits, the direct and indirect pathways, originate from distinct populations of striatal medium spiny neurons (MSNs) and project to different output structures. These circuits are believed to have opposite effects on movement. Specifically, the activity of direct pathway MSNs is postulated to promote movement, whereas the activation of indirect pathway MSNs is hypothesized to inhibit it. Recent findings have revealed that this model might not fully account for the concurrent activation of both pathways during movement. Accordingly, we propose a model in which intrastriatal connections are critical and the two pathways are structurally and functionally intertwined. Thus, all MSNs might either facilitate or inhibit movement depending on the form of synaptic plasticity expressed at a certain moment. In PD, alterations of dopamine-dependent synaptic plasticity could alter this coordinated activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1022-1030
Number of pages9
JournalNature Neuroscience
Volume17
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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Basal Ganglia
Neurons
Neuronal Plasticity
Parkinson Disease
Corpus Striatum
Critical Pathways
Dopamine
Population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Direct and indirect pathways of basal ganglia : A critical reappraisal. / Calabresi, Paolo; Picconi, Barbara; Tozzi, Alessandro; Ghiglieri, Veronica; Di Filippo, Massimiliano.

In: Nature Neuroscience, Vol. 17, No. 8, 2014, p. 1022-1030.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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