The classic basal ganglia circuit model asserts a complete segregation of the two striatal output pathways. Empirical data argue that in addition to indirect-pathway striatal projection neurons (iSPNs), direct-pathway striatal projection neurons (dSPNs) innervate the external globus pallidus (GPe). However, the functions of the latter were not known. In this study, we interrogated the organization principles of striatopallidal projections and how they are involved in full-body movement in mice (both males and females). In contrast to the canonical motor-promoting role of dSPNs in the dorsomedial striatum (DMSdSPNs), optogenetic stimulation of dSPNs in the dorsolateral striatum (DLSdSPNs) suppressed locomotion. Circuit analyses revealed that dSPNs selectively target Npas1+ neurons in the GPe. In a chronic 6-hydroxydopamine lesioned model of Parkinsons disease, this dSPN-Npas1+ projection was dramatically strengthened. As DLSdSPN-Npas1+ projection suppresses movement, the enhancement of this projection represents a circuit mechanism for the hypokinetic symptoms of Parkinsons disease that has not been previously considered.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience