The basal ganglia regulate a wide range of behaviors, including motor control and cognitive functions, and are profoundly affected in Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, the functional organization of different basal ganglia nuclei has not been fully elucidated at the circuit level. In this study, we investigated the functional roles of distinct parvalbumin-expressing neuronal populations in the external globus pallidus (GPe-PV) and their contributions to different PD-related behaviors. We demonstrate that substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr)-projecting GPe-PV neurons and parafascicular thalamus (PF)-projecting GPe-PV neurons are associated with locomotion and reversal learning, respectively. In a mouse model of PD, we found that selective manipulation of the SNr-projecting GPe-PV neurons alleviated locomotor deficit, whereas manipulation of the PF-projecting GPe-PV neurons rescued the impaired reversal learning. Our findings establish the behavioral importance of two distinct GPe-PV neuronal populations and, thereby, provide a new framework for understanding the circuit basis of different behavioral deficits in the Parkinsonian state.
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We thank D. Knowland and C. Santiago for their comments on the manuscript. S. Lilascharoen helped with quantification in Fig. 1 and with illustrations. We thank C. Gremel for essential comments on the reversal learning behavioral experiment. We thank the members of the Lim laboratory for support and discussions. V.L. was supported by the Anandamahidol Foundation Fellowship. This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (U01NS094342, R01DA049787, R01NS097772, R01MH108594 and U01MH114829).
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