Dopaminergic control of synaptic plasticity in the dorsal striatum

Diego Centonze, Barbara Picconi, Paolo Gubellini, Giorgio Bernardi, Paolo Calabresi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cortical glutamatergic and nigral dopaminergic afferents impinge on projection spiny neurons of the striatum, providing the most significant inputs to this structure. Isolated activation of glutamate or dopamine (DA) receptors produces short-term effects on striatal neurons, whereas the combined stimulation of both glutamate and DA receptors is able to induce long-lasting modifications of synaptic excitability. Repetitive stimulation of corticostriatal fibres causes a massive release of both glutamate and DA in the striatum and, depending on the glutamate receptor subtype preferentially activated, produces either long-term depression (LTD) or long-term potentiation (LTP) of excitatory synaptic transmission. D1-like and D2-like DA receptors interact synergistically to allow LTD formation, while they operate in opposition during the induction phase of LTP. Corticostriatal synaptic plasticity is severely impaired after chronic DA denervation and requires the stimulation of DARPP-32, a small protein expressed in dopaminoceptive spiny neurons which acts as a potent inhibitor of protein phosphatase-1. In addition, the formation of LTD and LTP requires the activation of PKG and PKA, respectively, in striatal projection neurons. These kinases appear to be stimulated by the activation of D1-like receptors in distinct neuronal populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1071-1077
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • D1 dopamine receptors
  • D2 dopamine receptors
  • Long-term depression
  • Long-term potentiation
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Protein kinase A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Dopaminergic control of synaptic plasticity in the dorsal striatum'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this