The Neocortex and Basal Ganglia are two brain regions involved in sensorimotor processing, and are tightly linked to each other via the cortico-striatal pathway. In order to understand the function of these brain regions, how they integrate sensory input and generate the appropriate motor output, it is essential to have a deep knowledge of their respective microcircuits.
In our lab, we study the structural and functional properties of neocortical and striatal microcircuits, as well the interactions between these two brain areas (cortico-striatal pathway). We use electrophysiological, anatomical, and imaging techniques in slices and in vivo, as well as computational methods in order to reveal the intricate organization of neurons and their synaptic connections. Our aim is to unravel the functional microcircuitry underlying sensorimotor processing in health and disease.
Key topics in our research are:
- The properties and functional role of interneurons and their interaction with the projection neurons (medium spiny neurons in the striatum, pyramidal neurons in the neocortex).
- Synaptic dynamics and their affect on microcircuit operation.
- Feed-back and feed-forward inhibitory synaptic pathways.
- Short- and long-term synaptic plasticity in corticostriatal synapses.
- Sensory integration in Basal Ganglia networks.
Inhibitory pathways in the striatum. Example of a simultaneous patch clamp recording from 4 striatal neurons (top). Stimulation of one striatal interneuron (Fast Spiking cell) evokes inhibitory responses in neighbouring medium spiny neurons (MSNs) of both direct and indirect projections types (bottom). These responses are monosynaptic GABAergic IPSPs acting as a feed-forward inhibitory pathway (Planert et al., J. Neuroscience 2010).
Dopamine Depletion Impairs Bilateral Sensory Processing in the Striatum in a Pathway-Dependent Manner.
Neuron 2017 May;94(4):855-865.e5
Distinct Corticostriatal and Intracortical Pathways Mediate Bilateral Sensory Responses in the Striatum.
Cereb. Cortex 2016 12;26(12):4405-4415
Local and afferent synaptic pathways in the striatal microcircuitry.
Curr. Opin. Neurobiol. 2015 Aug;33():182-7
Multisensory integration in the mouse striatum.
Neuron 2014 Sep;83(5):1200-12
Target selectivity of feedforward inhibition by striatal fast-spiking interneurons.
J. Neurosci. 2013 Jan;33(4):1678-83
Dynamics of synaptic transmission between fast-spiking interneurons and striatal projection neurons of the direct and indirect pathways.
J. Neurosci. 2010 Mar;30(9):3499-507
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