Striatal mechanisms of turning behaviour following unilateral dopamine depletion in mice

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Department of Biomedical Engineering


Unilateral dopamine (DA) depletion produces ipsiversive turning behaviour, and the injection of DA receptor agonists can produce contraversive turning, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. We conducted in vivo recording and pharmacological and optogenetic manipulations to study the role of DA and striatal output in turning behaviour. We used a video-based tracking programme while recording single unit activity in both putative medium spiny projection neurons (MSNs) and fast-spiking interneurons (FSIs) in the dorsal striatum bilaterally. Our results suggest that unilateral DA depletion reduced striatal output from the depleted side, resulting in asymmetric striatal output. Depletion systematically altered activity in both MSNs and FSIs, especially in neurons that increased firing during turning movements. Like D1 agonist SKF 38393, optogenetic stimulation in the depleted striatum increased striatal output and reversed biassed turning. These results suggest that relative striatal outputs from the two cerebral hemispheres determine the direction of turning: Mice turn away from the side of higher striatal output and towards the side of the lower striatal output.

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European Journal of Neuroscience