Dopamine modulation of the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid on substantia nigra pars reticulata neurons

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Science  08 Apr 1983:
Vol. 220, Issue 4593, pp. 218-221
DOI: 10.1126/science.6828891


Studies were conducted to assess whether basal ganglia output neurons originating in the substantia nigra pars reticulata might be affected by dopamine released from dendrites of neighboring substantia nigra pars compacta neurons. Dopamine applied by iontophoresis increased the baseline firing rates of approximately half of the substantia nigra pars reticulata cells tested. The more significant finding, unrelated to the increase in firing, was the ability of dopamine to attenuate the inhibitory responses of these cells to iontophoretically applied gamma-aminobutyric acid. These findings suggest a role for dopamine as a neuromodulator and further suggest that it can act at sites beyond the striatum to modify transmission from the basal ganglia to motor nuclei.