The intrinsic function of networks in striatum – role in selection of behaviour
The basal ganglia and striatum play a critical role for the selection of motor behaviour and for motor learning. Defects in striatal function (input layer of the basal ganglia) have very profound effect on behaviour (compare Parkinson´s and Huntington´s diseases). Of central importance for an understanding of striatum is to elucidate the properties of the striatal medium spiny neurones and the different types of interneurones and in particular their synaptic interaction. It appears that striatum contains a number of discrete microcircuits, each of which is involved in the control of a specific aspect of discrete motor functions. Striatum is most likely involved also in other tasks than purely motor.
The aim of this study is to elucidate the intrinsic function of the striatal networks. This will require multiple recordings of identified cells in striatum (morphology, immunohistochemistry, PCR) that are in synaptic interaction, and at the same time to study the effect of cortical and thalamic inputs onto these different neurons and explore the synaptic properties, synaptic plasticity and effects of modulator agents. This will require studies utilizing slices of striatum with different orientation and patch electrode recordings from different identified cell types. The unusual membrane properties of medium spiny neurons, which make the striatum function as a filter for thalamic and cortical input are also of direct relevance in this study. Modelling techniques will an important element in the analyses of cellular and network function.
Possible cortex partners for rotation:
Kaila laboratory will provide collaboration with regard to the importance of synaptic and cellular function for network operation.