Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Origins of post synaptic potentials evoked in spiny neostriatal projection neurons by thalamic stimulation in the rat

  • 81 Accesses

  • 49 Citations


Stimulation of thalamic intralaminar nuclei or structures along the intrathalamic trajectory of thalamostriatal axons evoked complex EPSPs and subsequent hyperpolarizations in rat neostriatal spiny neurons identified by intracellular injection of horseradish peroxidase and/or antidromic activation from substantia nigra. In intact urethane-anesthetized rats, the initial EPSP portion of the response consisted of several components and lasted up to 75 ms. Short (1–10 ms) latency components exhibiting latency variations suggestive of a polysynaptic origin were often observed, and sometimes were the earliest components of the response. However, individual components of the excitatory response could not be clearly distinguished in most neurons and the earliest excitatory component usually appeared to be monosynaptic.

After large acute aspiration lesions of ipsilateral cerebral cortex, the early polysynaptic EPSP components of thalamic-evoked EPSPs were absent or greatly attenuated. This suggested that most or all of the short latency polysynaptic EPSP components arose via a thalamo-cortico-striatal route. A short latency (1.6–4.0 ms) monosynaptic EPSP and a second excitatory component with a longer and more variable latency (8–28 ms) remained intact after acute decortication. These were not dependent upon intact corticothalamic or corticostriatal axons, since they were both still present in experiments performed as long as 4 days following ipsilateral hemidecortication. The longer latency excitatory response was shown to be polysynaptic by its latency variation with changes in stimulus intensity and frequency. This component of the response was abolished after acute thalamic hemitransections separating thalamostriatal neurons from their axons. In these experiments, stimulation of thalamostriatal axons rostral to the transection continued to evoke monosynaptic EPSPs in neostriatal spiny neurons. These EPSPs ranged from 1.8 to 3.0 ms in latency, had peak amplitudes up to 11 mV and were 20–37 ms in duration.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Buchwald NA, Price DD, Vernon L, Hull CD (1973) Caudate intracellular response to thalamic and cortical inputs. Exp Neurol 38: 311–323

  2. Cesaro P, Nguyen-Legros J, Berger B, Alvarez C, Albe-Fessard D (1979) Double labelling of branched neurons in the central nervous system of the rat by retrograde axonal transport of horseradish peroxidase and iron dextran complex. Neurosci Lett 15: 1–7

  3. Chang HT, Wilson CJ, Kitai ST (1981) Single neostriatal efferent axons in the globus pallidus: A light and electron microscopic study. Science 213: 915–918

  4. Chung JW, Hassler R, Wagner A (1977) Degeneration of two of nine types of synapses in the putamen after center median coagulation in the cat. Exp Brain Res 28: 345–361

  5. Donoghue JP, Kitai ST (1981) A collateral pathway to the neostriatum from neurons in somatic sensory-motor cortex demonstrated by intracellular labeling with HRP. J Comp Neurol 201: 1–13

  6. Droogleever-Fortuyn J, Stefens R (1951) On the anatomical relations of the intralaminar and midline cells of the thalamus. Electroenceph Clin Neurophysiol 3: 393–400

  7. Jinnai K, Matsuda Y (1979) Neurons of the motor cortex projecting commonly on the caudate nucleus and the lower brainstem in the cat. Neurosci Lett 13: 121–126

  8. Jinnai K, Matsuda Y (1981) Thalamocaudate projection neurons with a branching axon to the cerebral motor cortex. Neurosci Lett 26: 95–99

  9. Jones EG, Leavitt RY (1974) Retrograde axonal transport and the demonstration of non-specific projections to the cerebral cortex and striatum from thalamic intralaminar nuclei in the rat, cat and monkey. J. Comp Neurol 154: 349–378

  10. Kaji S, Naito H, Sato S (1971) Responses of single unit in the caudate nucleus to thalamic stimulation. Exp Neurol 30: 447–458

  11. Kalil K (1978) Patch-like termination of thalamic fibers in the putamen of rhesus monkey: An autoradiographic study. Brain Res 140: 333–339

  12. Kemp JM, Powell TPS (1971) The site of termination of afferent fibres in the caudate nucleus. Phil Trans R Soc Lond B 262: 413–427

  13. Kitai ST (1981) Electrophysiology of the corpus striatum and brain stem integrating systems. In: Brooks VB (ed) Handbook of physiology, sect 1, vol II. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, pp 997–1015

  14. Kitai ST, Kocsis, JD, Preston RJ, Sugimori M (1976) Monosynaptic inputs to caudate neurons identified by intracellular injection of horseradish peroxidase. Brain Res 109: 601–606

  15. Kitai ST, Kocsis JD, Wood J (1976) Origin and characteristics of the cortico-caudate afferents: an anatomical and electrophysiological study. Brain Res 118: 137–141

  16. Kitai ST, Wilson CJ (1982) Intracellular labeling of neurons in mammalian brain. In: Palay S, Chan-Palay V (eds) Cytochemical techniques in neurobiology. AR Liss, New York, pp 533–549

  17. Kocsis JD, Sugimori M, Kitai ST (1976) Convergence of excitatory synaptic inputs to caudate spiny neurons. Brain Res 124: 403–413

  18. Kunze W, McKenzie JS, Bendrups AP (1979) An electrophysiological study of thalamo-caudate neurones in the cat. Exp Brain Res 35: 233–244

  19. Macchi G, Bentivoglio M, D'Atena C, Rossini P, Tempesta E (1977) The cortical projections of the thalamic intralaminar nuclei restudied by means of the HRP retrograde axonal transport. Neurosci Lett 4: 121–126

  20. Mehler WR (1966) Further notes on the center median nucleus of Luys. In: Purpura DP, Yahr MD (eds) The thalamus. Columbia Univ. Press. New York, pp 109–127

  21. Murray M (1966) Degeneration of some intralaminar thalamic nuclei after cortical removals in the cat. J Comp Neurol 127: 341–367

  22. Nashold BS, Hanbery J, Olszewski J (1955) Observations on the diffuse thalamic projections. Electroenceph Clin Neurophysiol 7: 609–620

  23. Nauta WJH, Whitlock DG (1954) An anatomical analysis of the non-specific thalamic projection system. In: Delafresnaye JF (ed) Brain mechanisms and consciousness. CC Thomas, Springfield, Ill, pp 81–116

  24. Powell TPS, Cowan WM (1956) A study of thalamo-striate relations in the monkey. Brain 79: 364–395

  25. Preston RJ, Bishop GA, Kitai ST (1980) Medium spiny neuron projection from the rat striatum: An intracellular horseradish peroxidase study. Brain Res 183: 253–263

  26. Purpura DP (1972) Synaptic mechanisms in coordination of activity in thalamic internuncial common paths. In: Frigyesi TL, Rinvik E, Yahr MD (eds) Corticothalamic projections and sensorimotor activities. Raven Press, New York, pp 21–56

  27. Purpura DP, Malliani A (1967) Intracellular studies of the corpus striatum. I. Synaptic potentials and discharge characteristics of caudate neurons activated by thalamic stimulation. Brain Res 6: 325–340

  28. Rose JE, Woolsey CN (1943) A study of thalamo-cortical relations in the rabbit. Johns Hopkins Hosp Bull 73: 65–128

  29. Scheibel ME, Scheibel AB (1967) Structural organization of nonspecific thalamic nuclei and their projection toward cortex. Brain Res 6: 60–94

  30. VanderMaelen CP, Kitai ST (1981) Intracellular analysis of synaptic potentials in rat neostriatum following stimulation of the cerebral cortex, thalamus and substantia nigra. Brain Res Bull 5: 725–733

  31. Wilson CJ, Chang HT, Kitai ST (1982) Origins of postsynaptic potentials evoked in identified rat neostriatal neurons by stimulation in substantia nigra. Exp Brain Res 45: 157–167

  32. Wilson CJ, Chang HT, Kitai ST (1983) Disfacilitation and long-lasting inhibition of neostriatal neurons in the rat. Exp Brain Res 51: 227–235

  33. Wilson CJ, Groves PM (1979) A simple and rapid section embedding technique for sequential light and electron microscopic examination of individually-stained central neurons. J Neurosci Meth 1: 383–391

  34. Wilson CJ, Groves PM (1980) Fine structure and synaptic connections of the common spiny neuron of the rat neostriatum. A study employing intracellular injection of horseradish peroxidase. J Comp Neurol 194: 599–615

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to C. J. Wilson Ph. D..

Additional information

Supported by grants NS 17294 (to C.J. Wilson) and NS 14866 (to S.T. Kitai) from the National Institutes of Health

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Wilson, C.J., Chang, H.T. & Kitai, S.T. Origins of post synaptic potentials evoked in spiny neostriatal projection neurons by thalamic stimulation in the rat. Exp Brain Res 51, 217–226 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00237197

Download citation

Key words

  • Thalamostriatal pathway
  • Neostriatum
  • Basal ganglia
  • Neostriatal spiny neuron
  • Thalamostriatal EPSPs