Single body parts are processed by individual neurons in the mouse dorsolateral striatum

Kevin R. Coffey, Miles Nader, Mark O. West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Interest in the dorsolateral striatum (DLS) has generated numerous scientific studies of its neuropathologies, as well as its roles in normal sensorimotor integration and learning. Studies are informed by knowledge of DLS functional organization, the guiding principle being its somatotopic afferent projections from primary somatosensory (S1) and motor (M1) cortices. The potential to connect behaviorally relevant function to detailed structure is elevated by mouse models, which have access to extensive genetic neuroscience tool kits. Remaining to be demonstrated, however, is whether the correspondence between S1/M1 corticostriatal terminal distributions and the physiological properties of DLS neurons demonstrated in rats and non-human primates exists in mice. Given that the terminal distribution of S1/M1 projections to the DLS in mice is similar to that in rats, we studied whether firing rates (FRs) of DLS neurons in awake, behaving mice are related to activity of individual body parts. MSNs exhibited robust, selective increases in FR during movement or somatosensory stimulation of single body parts. Properties of MSNs, including baseline FRs, locations, responsiveness to stimulation, and proportions of responsive neurons were similar to properties observed in rats. Future studies can be informed by the present demonstration that the mouse lateral striatum functions as a somatic sensorimotor sector of the striatum and appears to be a homolog of the primate putamen, as demonstrated in rats (Carelli and West, 1991).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-207
Number of pages8
JournalBrain research
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


  • Abbreviations DLS dorsolateral striatum
  • FR firing rate
  • MSNs medium spiny neurons


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