Nitrergic Tone Influences Activity of Both Ventral Striatum Projection Neurons and Interneurons

  • Sarah Jane French
  • Henrike Hartung
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 58)


Nitric oxide (NO) is a well-established striatal neuromodulator, effecting both the activity and electrical coupling of striatal projection neurons. The NO-producing interneurons within the striatum are altered in schizophrenia brain tissue, and they may be key to the pathophysiology and future treatment of schizophrenia. We investigated in vivo the effect of locally applied NO-active drugs on the firing rate of electrophysiologically and anatomically identified, medium-sized densely spiny neurons and interneurons in the ventral striatum.

Juxtacellular recording and labelling experiments were performed on ventral striatal neurons during prefrontal cortex electrical stimulation. A NO donor, precursor or scavenger were applied microiontophoretically and single unit responses were recorded; after labelling, neurons were examined morphologically to determine neuronal type.

Correlation of electrophysiological and anatomical findings revealed four drug response profiles and four types of neurons. The nitrergic modulation of ventral striatal neurons is neuronal-type specific and may be effector-mechanism dependent, and it is involved in the gating of cortically driven ventral striatal output and the temporal and spatial synchrony of the striatal networks.


Nitric Oxide Firing Rate Action Potential Duration Ethyl Carbamate Cholinergic Interneuron 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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