According to the current model of the basal ganglia organization, simultaneous activation of the striato-nigral direct pathway by glutamatergic and dopaminergic neurotransmission should lead to a synergistic facilitatory action on locomotor activity, while in contrast activation of the indirect pathway by these two neurotransmittions should lead to antagonistic effects on locomotor activity. Based on published data, as a break with the current thinking, we propose a reconceptualization of functional interactions between dopaminergic and glutamatergic neurotransmission. In this model, dopaminergic neurotransmission is seen as a motor pacemaker responsible for the basal and primary activation of striatal output neurons and glutamate as a driver providing a multiple combination of tonic, phasic, facilitatory and inhibitory influxes resulting from the processing of environmental, emotional and mnesic stimuli. Thus, in the model, glutamate-coded inputs would allow tuning the intrinsic motor-activating properties of dopamine to adjust the production of locomotor activity into goal-oriented movements.
Keywords: Dopamine-glutamate striatal interactions, locomotor activity, goal-oriented movements, nucleus accumbens, striatum
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