|Title||Pallidal neuron activity increases during sensory relay through thalamus in a songbird circuit essential for learning|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2007|
|Authors||Person AL, Perkel DJ|
|ISBN Number||1529-2401 (Electronic)0270-6474 (Linking)|
|Keywords||Acoustic Stimulation/methods, Action Potentials/physiology, Animals, Male, Globus Pallidus/*physiology, Learning/*physiology, Nerve Net/*physiology, Neurons, Afferent/*physiology, Songbirds/*physiology, Thalamus/*physiology|
Disinhibition of the thalamus remains the primary model of information transfer between the basal ganglia and the cortex. Yet in apparent conflict with this model, the globus pallidus, a GABAergic basal ganglia output structure, often exhibits marked increases in firing rate during movement. To investigate the translation of pallidal activity and its relay through the thalamus, we explored a basal ganglia-thalamic pathway essential for song learning in songbirds. We found that single units in the thalamic nucleus DLM of urethane-anesthetized adult male zebra finches responded selectively to playback of the bird's own song, like neurons in its upstream and downstream nuclei. Because the pallidal input to these neurons forms giant calyx-like synapses, we were able to record extracellular signals from these presynaptic terminals as well. Pallidal units were distinctly excited by song playback, suggesting an increase in GABAergic transmission in the thalamus during sensory processing. However, this overall increased firing rate was phasic, punctuated by rapid decelerations in firing rate. In several cases, we were able to record presynaptic and postsynaptic units simultaneously. Correlating the presynaptic and postsynaptic activity, we found that disinhibition of thalamus may entail pallidal firing rate decelerations rather than simple long pauses in spontaneous activity, as has long been assumed.