Globus Pallidus External Segment Neuron Classification in Freely Moving Rats: A Comparison to Primates

Liora Benhamou, Maya Bronfeld, Izhar Bar-Gad, Dana Cohen

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43 Scopus citations


Globus Pallidus external segment (GPe) neurons are well-characterized in behaving primates. Based on their firing properties, these neurons are commonly divided into two distinct groups: high frequency pausers (HFP) and low frequency bursters (LFB). However, no such characterization has been made for behaving rats. The current study characterizes and categorizes extracellularly recorded GPe neurons in freely moving rats, and compares these results to those obtained by extracellular recordings in behaving primates using the same analysis methods. Analysis of our data recorded in rats revealed two distinct neuronal populations exhibiting firing-pattern characteristics that are similar to those obtained in primates. These characteristic firing patterns are conserved between species although the firing rate is significantly lower in rats than in primates. Significant differences in waveform duration and shape were insufficient to create a reliable waveform-based classification in either species. The firing pattern analogy may emphasize conserved processing properties over firing rate per-se. Given the similarity in GPe neuronal activity between human and non-human primates in different pathologies, our results encourage information transfer using complementary studies across species in the GPe to acquire a better understanding of the function of this nucleus in health and disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere45421
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
StatePublished - 21 Sep 2012


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