The basal ganglia play a critical role in shaping motor behavior. For this function, the activity of medium spiny neurons (MSNs) of the striatonigral and striatopallidal pathways must be integrated. It remains unclear whether the activity of the two pathways is primarily coordinated by synaptic plasticity mechanisms. Using a model of Parkinson's disease, we determined the circuit and behavioral effects of concurrently regulating cell-type-specific forms of corticostriatal long-term synaptic depression (LTD) by inhibiting small-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channels (SKs) of the dorsolateral striatum. At striatopallidal synapses, SK channel inhibition rescued the disease-linked deficits in endocannabinoid (eCB)-dependent LTD. At striatonigral cells, inhibition of these channels counteracted a form of adenosine-mediated LTD by activating the ERK cascade. Interfering with eCB-, adenosine-, and ERK signaling in vivo alleviated motor abnormalities, which supports that synaptic modulation of striatal pathways affects behavior. Thus, our results establish a central role of coordinated synaptic plasticity at MSN subpopulations in motor control.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology