Substantia nigra dopaminergic unit activity in behaving cats: Effect of arousal on spontaneous discharge and sensory evoked activity

Robert E. Strecker, Barry L. Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

89 Scopus citations

Abstract

Single-unit activity of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra was recorded in freely moving cats during a variety of conditions designed to shed light on the hypotheses that these neurons are involved in the regulation of arousal-stress and/or selective attention. Both aversive and non-aversive arousing experimental conditions were used, including tail pinch, immersion of feet in ice-water, white noise, inaccessible food, feeding, grooming, inaccessible rats, and somatosensory stimulation. None of these conditions had an effect on tonic neuronal discharge rate. However, these neurons did exhibit brief excitatory and inhibitory responses to phasic auditory or visual stimuli presented when the cat was sitting quietly. These responses were dramatically attenuated if these stimuli were presented during the aforementioned conditions of behavioral arousal. This sharply contrasts with the inability of these same conditions to influence spontaneous discharge rate. The sensitivity of this neuronal sensory response to the concurrent behavioral condition supports the hypothesis that these neurons are involved in attentional processes or selective responding. The lack of responsiveness of these neurons to a variety of arousal/stress manipulations supports the hypothesis that dopaminergic neurons play a permissive, rather than an active, role in these processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-350
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Research
Volume361
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 30 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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

Keywords

  • arousal
  • attention
  • behavior
  • cat
  • dopamine
  • sensory stimulation
  • stress
  • substantia nigra
  • unit activity

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Substantia nigra dopaminergic unit activity in behaving cats: Effect of arousal on spontaneous discharge and sensory evoked activity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this