Neurophysiology of Substantia Nigra Dopamine Neurons: Modulation by GABA and Glutamate

C. A. Paladini, J. M. Tepper

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Scopus citations


The nigrostriatal dopamine (DA) system is crucial to a large array of behaviors ranging from voluntary motor function to higher cognitive processes. Nigrostriatal neurons in vivo fire in three distinct patterns, modulated by afferent input. At least 70% of the inputs to nigral DA neurons are GABAergic, arising from the striatum, the globus pallidus, the rostromedial tegmental nucleus, and axon collaterals from the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr) projection neurons. Manipulation of these inputs, in particular those originating in SNr, produces dramatic effects on nigrostriatal neuron firing patterns. Since many or most of the afferents to the substantia nigra synapse on both nigrostriatal DA neurons and SNr GABAergic projection neurons, the response of nigral DA neurons to both excitatory and inhibitory afferents reflects a complex interplay between the intrinsic properties of the nigrostriatal neurons, the patterns and rate of the afferent input, and the synaptic interactions between SNr GABAergic neurons and the nigrostriatal DA neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Behavioral Neuroscience
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Number of pages25
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Publication series

NameHandbook of Behavioral Neuroscience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


  • GABA receptors
  • GABA receptors
  • Substantia nigra
  • disinhibition
  • firing pattern
  • globus pallidus
  • striatum
  • substantia nigra pars reticulata


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