The two major afferents of the entopeduncular nucleus are the subthalamic nucleus and the neostriatum, which have opposing physiological effects on entopeduncular neurons. Experiments were performed to test the hypothesis that individual entopeduncular neurons that project to the thalamus receive convergent synaptic input from both the subthalamic nucleus and the neostriatum in the rat. This was achieved using double anterograde tracing combined with retrograde tracing. In the electron microscope anterogradely labelled subthalamic (Subthalamic Type 1) and neostriatal terminals were observed to form asymmetrical and symmetrical synaptic contacts respectively, with all parts of entopeduncular neurons. Labelled subthalamic and neostriatal terminals were observed in convergent synaptic contact with entopeduncular neurons, some of which were retrogradely labelled from the thalamus. A second rarer type of terminal was labelled (Subthalamic Type 2) which formed symmetrical synaptic contacts with the proximal regions of unlabelled and retrogradely labelled entopeduncular neurons. These terminals are believed to be derived from the globus pallidus. It is concluded that the topographical and synaptic organization of the so-called direct (neostriatum to entopeduncular nucleus) and indirect pathways (involving the subthalamus and the globus pallidus) is capable of mediating the inhibition and excitation of output neurons in the entopeduncular nucleus that occur following neostriatal stimulation. © 1994.
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