Neuropathology of Basal Ganglia and its role in the Parkinsonian syndromes with special reference to the Globus pallidus

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  • Richard Armstrong

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The globus pallidus, together with the striatum (caudate nucleus and putamen), substantia nigra, nucleus accumbens, and subthalamic nucleus constitute the basal ganglia, a group of nuclei which act as a single functional unit. The basal ganglia have extensive connections to the cerebral cortex and thalamus and exert control over a variety of functions including voluntary motor control, procedural learning, and motivation. The action of the globus pallidus is primarily inhibitory and balances the excitatory influence of other areas of the brain such as the cerebral cortex and cerebellum. Neuropathological changes affecting the basal ganglia play a significant role in the clinical signs and symptoms observed in the ‘parkinsonian syndromes’ viz., Parkinson’s disease (PD), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), multiple system atrophy (MSA), and corticobasal degeneration (CBD). There is increasing evidence that different regions of the basal ganglia are differentially affected in these disorders. Hence, in all parkinsonian disorders and especially PD, there is significant pathology affecting the substantia nigra and its dopamine projection to the striatum. However, in PSP and MSA, the globus pallidus is also frequently affected while in DLB and CBD, whereas the caudate nucleus and/or putamen are affected, the globus pallidus is often spared. This chapter reviews the functional pathways of the basal ganglia, with special reference to the globus pallidus, and the role that differential pathology in these regions may play in the movement disorders characteristic of the parkinsonian syndromes.


Publication date2013
Publication titleGlobus pallidus : regional anatomy, function, dysfunction and role in behavioral disorders
EditorsCynthia R. Gordon, Thomas G. Abbadelli
Place of PublicationHauppage, NY (US)
PublisherNova science
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-62948-368-9
ISBN (Print)978-1-62948-367-2
Original languageEnglish

Publication series

NameNeuroscience research progress


  • basal ganglia, globus pallidus, Parkinsonian syndrome, clinical symptoms

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