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Oscillations may play a role in the functional organization of cortico-basal ganglia-thalamocortical circuits, and it is important to understand their underlying mechanisms. The cortex often drives basal ganglia (BG) activity, and particularly, oscillatory activity in the subthalamic nucleus (STN). However, the STN may also indirectly influence cortex. The aim of this study was to characterize the delayed (>200 ms) responses of STN neurons to synchronized cortical inputs, focusing on their relationship with oscillatory cortical activity. We recorded the short-latency and delayed responses of STN units and frontal electrocorticogram (ECoG) to cortical stimulation in anaesthetized rats. Similar to previous studies, stimulation of ipsilateral frontal cortex, but not temporal cortex, evoked a short-latency triphasic response, followed by a sustained reduction or pause in firing, in rostral STN units. Caudal STN units did not show the short-latency triphasic response but often displayed a prolonged firing reduction. Oscillations in STN unit activity and ECoG were common after this sustained firing reduction, particularly between 200 and 600 ms after frontal cortical stimulation. These delayed oscillations were significantly coherent in a broad frequency band of 5-30 Hz. Coherence with ECoG at 5-15 Hz was observed throughout STN, though coherence at 15-30 Hz was largely restricted to rostral STN. Furthermore, oscillatory responses at 5-30 Hz in rostral STN predominantly led those in cortex (mean latency of 29 ms) after frontal cortical stimulation. These findings suggest that STN neurons responding to corticosubthalamic inputs may provide a delayed input to cortex, via BG output nuclei, and thence, thalamocortical pathways.

Original publication




Journal article


J Physiol

Publication Date





929 - 946


Action Potentials, Animals, Biological Clocks, Cerebral Cortex, Cortical Synchronization, Electric Stimulation, Evoked Potentials, Male, Neural Pathways, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Subthalamic Nucleus, Time Factors