Firing activity of external globus pallidus (GPe) is crucial for motor control and is severely perturbed in dystonia, a movement disorder characterized by involuntary, repetitive muscle contractions. Here, we show that GPe projection neurons exhibit a reduction of firing frequency and an irregular pattern in a DYT1 dystonia model. Optogenetic activation of the striatopallidal pathway fails to reset pacemaking activity of GPe neurons in mutant mice. Abnormal firing is paralleled by alterations in motor learning. We find that loss of dopamine D2 receptor-dependent inhibition causes increased GABA input at striatopallidal synapses, with subsequent downregulation of hyperpolarization-activated, cyclic nucleotide-gated cation (HCN) channels. Accordingly, enhancing in vivo HCN channel activity or blocking GABA release restores both the ability of striatopallidal inputs to pause ongoing GPe activity and motor coordination deficits. Our findings demonstrate an impaired striatopallidal connectivity, supporting the central role of GPe in motor control and, more importantly, identifying potential pharmacological targets for dystonia.
- basal ganglia, movement disorders, globus pallidus, dopamine receptor, channelopathy, synaptopathy, optogenetic
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)