A role for non-NMDA excitatory amino acid receptors in regulating the basal activity of rat globus pallidus neurons and their activation by the subthalamic nucleus

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Brain Research

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We have investigated the hypothesis that excitatory amino acid (EAA) receptors in the globus pallidus (GP) play a significant role in maintaining the firing rates of GP neurons under basal conditions and following activation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN). Drugs were infused directly into the GP and/or STN while the extracellular single unit activity of Type II GP neurons was recorded in ketamine-anesthetized rats. Local infusions of the EAA agonists NMDA (30–300 pmol/200 nl) or AMPA (0.1–1 pmol/200 nl) elicited increases in the firing rate of GP neurons in a dose-dependent fashion. Infusion of the GABAA receptor antagonist bicuculline methiodine (1–10 pmol/100 nl) into the STN also elicited dose-related increases in the firing rate of GP neurons. Intrapallidal infusion of the non-NMDA (AMPA/kainate) receptor antagonist NBQX (0.1–1.0 nmol) reduced the basal firing rate of GP neurons by 40%. In contrast, the NMDA antagonist MK-801 (0.01–0.1 nmol) produced no significant effect on basal firing rate. Intrapallidal infusion of the non-selective EAA receptor antagonist kynurenic acid or NBQX reversed or blocked the increase in firing rate of GP neurons following bicuculline-induced activation of the STN. Similar treatment with MK-801, however, had no significant effect on this response. These results indicate that tonic stimulation of non-NMDA receptors plays an important role in maintaining the basal activity of GP neurons and in mediating the effects of increased excitatory input from subthalamic afferent neurons.


Version of record can be found through Brain Research.