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Bargas, J; Galarraga, E; Gomora, JC; Ibanez-Sandoval, O; Carrillo-Reid, L; Tapia, D; Mendoza, E; Aceves, J (2007)

BURSTING IN SUBSTANTIA NIGRA PARS RETICULATA NEURONS IN VITRO: POSSIBLE RELEVANCE FOR PARKINSON DISEASE

J NEUROPHYSIOL 98(4):2311-2323
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Projection neurons of the substantia nigra reticulata (SNr) convey basal ganglia (BG) processing to thalamocortical and brain stem circuits responsible for movement. Two models try to explain pathological BG performance during Parkinson disease (PD): the rate model, which posits an overexcitation of SNr neurons due to hyperactivity in the indirect pathway and hypoactivity of the direct pathway, and the oscillatory model, which explains PD as the product of pathological pattern generators disclosed by dopamine reduction. These models are, apparently, incompatible. We tested the predictions of the rate model by increasing the excitatory drive and reducing the inhibition on SNr neurons in vitro. This was done pharmacologically with bath application of glutamate agonist N-methyl-D-aspartate and GABA(A) receptor blockers, respectively. Both maneuvers induced bursting behavior in SNr neurons. Therefore synaptic changes forecasted by the rate model induce the electrical behavior predicted by the oscillatory model. In addition, we found evidence that Ca(V)3.2 Ca2+ channels are a critical step in generating the bursting firing pattern in SNr neurons. Other ion channels involved are: hyperpolarization-activated cation channels, high-voltage-activated Ca2+ channels, and Ca2+- activated K+ channels. However, although these channels shape the temporal structure of bursting, only Ca(V)3.2 Ca2+ channels are indispensable for the initiation of the bursting pattern.