Differential Cortical Input and Neurochemical Inhomogeneity in the Indirect Striatopallidal Pathway. A Possible Substrate for Tourette Syndrome.

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Moratalla, Rosario, PhD

The main goal of our proposed project is the study of the specific connections from the prefrontal cortex to the striatum and the anatomical distribution of the neuropeptide enkephalin in the sensorimotor and in the somatic striatum. We believe that the exact anatomical organization of the prefrontal-striatal projection to the striosomes and matrix and their parcelation are of major importance since this massive connection has been implicated in Tourette Syndrome. Therefore, our work may add to knowledge about the basic neurobiology needed to understand the underpinnings of this disorder. On the other hand, it is known that the two major output systems of the striatum to the rest of the basal ganglia circuit (the direct and the indirect pathways) are critical to normal neurologic function and to the abnormalities that occur in basal ganglia disorders. Based on our preliminary data that enkephalin immunoreactivity is more intense in the anterior striatum and very weak in the caudal part, we will test the hypothesis that the indirect pathway may not be modulated uniformly. Confirmation of this could have a profound implication for medication therapy for Tourette Syndrome. Rosario Moratalla, Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA Award $20,000 Tourette Association of America Inc. – Research Grant Award 1994