Trans-synaptic modulation of striatal ACh release in vivo by the parafascicular thalamic nucleus

G. Baldi, G. Russi, L. Nannini, A. Vezzani, S. Consolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electrical stimulation of the parafascicular but not the ventrolateral or dorsomedial thalamic nucleus (ten 0.5 ms, 10 V pulses, 140 μA) of freely moving rats induced a frequency-dependent (2.5, 5, 10 and 20 Hz) increase in the extracellular acetylcholine (ACh) content of the dorsal striatum, assessed by trans-striatal microdialysis. The time-dependent effect of 10 Hz stimulation was studied. The peak increase, 39% above baseline, was attained during 4 min of stimulation. This was blocked by coperfusion with 5 μM tetrodotoxin, indicating that the release we measured represents a physiological process. The facilitatory effect of parafascicular nucleus stimulation does not appear to be associated with indirect action through the cerebral frontal cortex because acute lesion of the excitatory corticostriatal afferents, which by itself reduced basal ACh release by 40%, did not modify the effect of 10 Hz stimulation. The possible involvement of the fasciculus retroflexus in the facilitation of ACh release was also ruled out. The non-competitive NMDA-type receptor antagonist MK-801, applied by reversed dialysis (30 μM) or systemically injected (0.2 mg/kg), significantly reduced the basal ACh output and prevented the tetanus-evoked increase in ACh release, The results provide in vivo evidence that the activity of the cholinergic neurons in the dorsal striatum is trans-synaptically modulated by parafascicular nucleus excitatory afferents through activation of the NMDA subtype of glutamate receptors that is probably located in the striatum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1117-1120
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • Electrical stimulation
  • Excitatory amino acids
  • Microdialysis
  • MK-801
  • Rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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