Responses of striatal neurons in the behaving monkey. 3. Effects of iontophoretically applied dopamine on normal responsiveness

E. T. Rolls*, S. J. Thorpe, M. Boytim, I. Szabo, D. I. Perrett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Citations (Scopus)


In order to analyse the functions of dopamine, the effects of the iontophoretic application of dopamine on the responsiveness of striatal neurons to their normal inputs were investigated in the behaving monkey. It was shown that many neurons in the putamen had responses related to movements, of for example the mouth. Iontophoretically applied dopamine decreased the spontaneous firing rates of 178 of 267 neurons (67%) tested in the putamen, caudate nucleus, and the adjacent prefrontal cortex which also receives a dopaminergic projection. Trifluoperazine, applied iontophoretically to block dopamine receptors, increased the spontaneous firing rates of some of the neurons in the prefrontal cortex, suggesting that under normal conditions in the behaving animal the release of dopamine holds the firing rates of these neurons at a low level. The median was 9 spikes/s in the present sample of striatal neurons. Application of dopamine decreased the magnitude of the movement-related responses of the striatal neurons; this decrease in the responses was of approximately the same magnitude in spikes per second as the decrease in the spontaneous firing rate of the neurons produced by the same current of dopamine. It is suggested that this type of effect of dopamine could influence the signal to noise ratio of processing within the striatum, and that changes in this signal to noise ratio produced by disturbances of dopaminergic function could contribute to the behavioral disorders produced by dysfunctions of the dopaminergic systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1201-1212
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1984


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