The basal ganglia are a group of subcortical nuclei classically thought to be involved in the control of movement, and they have reciprocal connections with the cortex, thalamus and structures in the brainstem. Recent findings suggest that the basal ganglia interact with structures involved in the control of the sleep-waking cycle. The pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPN) maintains a close relationship with the basal ganglia and is intimately involved in the regulation of wakefulness and REM sleep. This study evaluated changes in activity of PPN neurons following striatal kainic acid-induced lesions. Rats were injected in the anterodorsal striatum with either kainic acid or vehicle and allowed to recover for 7 or 30 days. The results showed an increase in the number of c-Fos+ cells in the PPN 30 days but not 7 days after the striatal lesion, when motor hyperactivity was no longer detected. In addition, we found a significant correlation between the ventricular brain ratio, as an indicator of lesion size, and the number of c-Fos+ cells in the PPN. Furthermore, the spatial distribution of cell types suggested that most c-Fos+ cells in the PPN were not cholinergic. These results provide new insights into the functional relationship between the basal ganglia and the PPN and suggest that the striatum, through its indirect influence on the PPN, may contribute to the regulation of wakefulness and cortical activation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Basal ganglia
- GABAergic disinhibition