Characterization of the Synaptic Inputs to Dopaminergic Neurones in the Rat Substantia Nigra

  • Paul Bolam
  • Yoland Smith
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 39)


The dopaminergic nigrostriatal pathway has long been known as crucial in the circuitry of the basal ganglia. The critical role of this projection in basal ganglia function is exemplified by the marked motor disturbances inParkinson’s disease and the models of Parkinson’s disease involving selective destruction of the nigral dopaminergic neurones. This projection terminates profusely throughout the entire extent of the striatum and intrastriatal release of dopamine from these terminals represents one of the major modulatory feedback mechanisms of information flow through the basal ganglia. Electron microscopic analyses have shown that most of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic terminals form synaptic contacts with the type of striatal neurone that also receives afferent input from the cerebral cortex (Bouyer et al., ’84; Freund et al., ’84). This pattern of synaptic organization of the cortical and dopaminergic terminals on the striatal neurones suggests that the information flow through the cortico-striato-pallidal and cortico-striato-nigral pathways may be modulated by the dopaminergic afferents.


Tyrosine Hydroxylase Substantia Nigra Globus Pallidus Glutamic Acid Decarboxylase Synaptic Contact 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Bolam
    • 1
  • Yoland Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology UnitUniversity Department of PharmacologyOxfordUK

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