Parvalbumin-producing striatal interneurons receive excitatory inputs onto proximal dendrites from the motor thalamus in male mice
In rodents, the dorsolateral striatum regulates voluntary movement by integrating excitatory inputs from the motor-related cerebral cortex and thalamus to produce contingent inhibitory output to other basal ganglia nuclei. Striatal parvalbumin (PV)-producing interneurons receiving this excitatory input then inhibit medium spiny neurons (MSNs) and modify their outputs. To understand basal ganglia function in motor control, it is important to reveal the precise synaptic organization of motor-related cortical and thalamic inputs to striatal PV interneurons. To examine which domains of the PV neurons receive these excitatory inputs, we used male bacterial artificial chromosome transgenic mice expressing somatodendritic membrane–targeted green fluorescent protein in PV neurons. An anterograde tracing study with the adeno-associated virus vector combined with immunodetection of pre- and postsynaptic markers visualized the distribution of the excitatory appositions on PV dendrites. Statistical analysis revealed that the density of thalamostriatal appositions along the dendrites was significantly higher on the proximal than distal dendrites. In contrast, there was no positional preference in the density of appositions from axons of the dorsofrontal cortex. Population observations of thalamostriatal and corticostriatal appositions by immunohistochemistry for pathway-specific vesicular glutamate transporters confirmed that thalamic inputs preferentially, and cortical ones less preferentially, made apposition on proximal dendrites of PV neurons. This axodendritic organization suggests that PV neurons produce fast and reliable inhibition of MSNs in response to thalamic inputs and process excitatory inputs from motor cortices locally and plastically, possibly together with other GABAergic and dopaminergic dendritic inputs, to modulate MSN inhibition.