Differential tonic GABA conductances in striatal medium spiny neurons

Kristen K. Ade, Megan J. Janssen, Pavel I. Ortinski, Stefano Vicini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Medium spiny neurons (MSNs) provide the principal output for the dorsal striatum. Those that express dopamine D2 receptors (D 2+) project to the globus pallidus external and are thought to inhibit movement, whereas those that express dopamine D1 receptors (D1+) project to the substantia nigra pars reticulata and are thought to facilitate movement. Whole-cell and outside-out patch recordings in slices from bacterial artificial chromosome transgenic mice examined the role of GABAA receptor-mediated currents in dopamine receptor D1+ striatonigral and D2+ striatopallidal MSNs. Although inhibitory synaptic currents were similar between the two neuronal populations, D2+ MSNs showed greater GABAA receptor-mediated tonic currents. TTX application abolished the tonic current to a similar extent as GABAA antagonists, suggesting a synaptic origin of the ambient GABA. Low GABA concentrations produced larger whole-cell responses and longer GABA channel openings in D2 + than in D1+ MSNs. Recordings from MSNs in α1-/- mice and pharmacological analysis of tonic currents suggested greater expression of α5-containing GABAA receptors in D2+ than in D1+ MSNs. As a number of disorders such as Parkinson's disease, Huntington's chorea, and tardive dyskinesia arise from an imbalance between these two pathways, the GABA A receptors responsible for tonic currents in D2 + MSNs may be a potential target for therapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1185-1197
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 30 2008


  • Chloride channel
  • GABA receptors
  • Medium spiny neurons
  • Patch-clamp
  • Striatum
  • Tonic inhibition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)


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