In vivo characterization of two cell types in the rat globus pallidus which have opposite responses to dopamine receptor stimulation: Comparison of electrophysiological properties and responses to apomorphine, dizocilpine, and ketamine anesthesia

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Extracellular single-unit recording techniques were used to examine the rat globus pallidus (GP). In both locally anesthetized, paralyzed rats and ketamine-anesthetized rats, we observed two distinct biphasic extracellular waveforms, which we have labeled Type I (negative/positive waveform) and Type II (positive/negative waveform). No significant differences were observed in the firing pattern or number of cells per track between these cell types, although the Type II neurons had a faster mean firing rate in the locally anesthetized animals. A portion of both cell types could be antidromically activated from the subthalamic nucleus, although Type II neurons had significantly slower conduction velocities. The most striking pharmacological difference between the two cell types was that Type I GP neurons were inhibited by systemic administration of the dopamine agonist apomorphine; previous studies have repeatedly shown that Type II GP cells are excited by this treatment. Pretreatment with a subthreshold dose of apomorphine reduced the responsiveness of Type I cells to a subsequent high dose of apomorphine, as has been shown for Type II cells. However, pretreatment with the NMDA antagonist dizocilpine (MK801) produced a significant change in the pattern of response to apomorphine for Type II GP neurons only. Relative to observations in locally anesthetized, paralyzed rats, ketamine anesthesia reduced the firing rate of both cell types, but did not significantly alter their direction of response to apomorphine. Thus, this study has confirmed the existence of two GP cell types with distinct extracellular waveforms and different responses to dopamine receptor stimulation. These data may necessitate a reevaluation of general theoretical models of basal ganglia function in order to account for these opposite effects of dopamine receptor stimulation on pallidal output.


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