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Dopamine is known to differentially modulate the impact of cortical input to the striatum between the direct and indirect pathways of the basal ganglia (BG). However, the role of extrastriatal dopamine receptors (DRs) in BG information processing is less clear. To investigate the role of extrastriatal DRs, we studied their distribution and function in one of the output nuclei of the BG of the rodent, the entopeduncular nucleus (EP). qRT-PCR indicated that all DR subtypes were expressed by EP neurons, suggesting that both D1-like receptors (D1LRs) and D2-like receptors (D2LRs) were likely to affect information processing in the EP. Whole-cell recordings revealed that striatal inputs to the EP were potentiated by D1LRs whereas pallidal inputs to the EP were depressed by D2LRs. Changes to the paired-pulse ratio of inputs to the EP suggested that dopaminergic modulation of striatal inputs is mediated by postsynaptic receptors, and that of globus pallidus-evoked inputs is mediated by presynaptic receptors. We show that these changes in synaptic efficacy changed the information content of EP neuron firing. Overall, the findings suggest that the dopaminergic system affects the passage of feedforward information through the BG by modulating input divergence in the striatum and output convergence in the EP.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The entopeduncular nucleus (EP), one of the basal ganglia (BG) output nuclei, is an important station in information processing in BG. However, it remains unclear how EP neurons encode information and how dopamine affects this process. This contrasts with the well established role of dopamine in the striatum, which is known to redistribute cortical input between the direct and indirect pathways. Here we show that, in symmetry with the striatum, dopamine controls the rebalancing of information flow between the two pathways in the EP. Specifically, we demonstrate that dopamine regulates EP activity by differentially modulating striatal and pallidal GABAergic inputs. These results call for a reassessment of current perspectives on BG information processing by highlighting the functional role of extrastriatal dopamine receptors. Copyright © 2017 the authors 0270-6474/17/377177-11$15.00/0.


Hagar Lavian, Mara Almog, Ravit Madar, Yocheved Loewenstern, Izhar Bar-Gad, Eitan Okun, Alon Korngreen. Dopaminergic Modulation of Synaptic Integration and Firing Patterns in the Rat Entopeduncular Nucleus. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2017 Jul 26;37(30):7177-7187

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PMID: 28652413

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