Independent neuronal oscillators of the rat globus pallidus

Ian M. Stanford*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In vivo, neurons of the globus pallidus (GP) and subthalamic nucleus (STN) resonate independently around 70 Hz. However, on the loss of dopamine as in Parkinson's disease, there is a switch to a lower frequency of firing with increased bursting and synchronization of activity. In vitro, type A neurons of the GP, identified by the presence of Ih and rebound depolarizations, fire at frequencies (≤80 Hz) in response to glutamate pressure ejection, designed to mimic STN input. The profile of this frequency response was unaltered by bath application of the GABAA antagonist bicuculline (10 μM), indicating the lack of involvement of a local GABA neuronal network, while cross-correlations of neuronal pairs revealed uncorrelated activity or phase-locked activity with a variable phase delay, consistent with each GP neuron acting as an independent oscillator. This autonomy of firing appears to arise due to the presence of intrinsic voltage- and sodium-dependent subthreshold membrane oscillations. GABAA inhibitory postsynaptic potentials are able to disrupt this tonic activity while promoting a rebound depolarization and action potential firing. This rebound is able to reset the phase of the intrinsic oscillation and provides a mechanism for promoting coherent firing activity in ensembles of GP neurons that may ultimately lead to abnormal and pathological disorders of movement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1713-1717
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2003


  • neurons of the globus pallidus
  • subthalamic nucleus
  • loss of dopamine
  • Parkinson's disease
  • activity
  • glutamate pressure ejection


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