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Nigrostriatal pathway

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Title: Nigrostriatal pathway  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Neural pathway, Mesocortical pathway, Mesolimbic pathway, Dopaminergic pathways, Dorsal trigeminal tract
Collection: Central Nervous System Pathways, Cerebrum
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Nigrostriatal pathway

The nigrostriatal pathway is shown here in solid blue, connecting the substantia nigra with the dorsal striatum.

The nigrostriatal pathway, or the nigrostriatal bundle (NSB), is a dopaminergic pathway that connects the substantia nigra with the dorsal striatum. It is one of the four major dopamine pathways in the brain, and is particularly involved in the production of movement, as part of a system called the basal ganglia motor loop. Dopaminergic neurons of this pathway contransmit with glutamate and synapse onto GABAergic neurons.[1][2]

Loss of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra is one of the main pathological features of Parkinson's disease,[3] leading to a marked reduction in dopamine function in this pathway. The symptoms of the disease typically do not show themselves until 80-90% of dopamine function has been lost.

This pathway is also implicated in producing tardive dyskinesia, one of the side-effects of antipsychotic drugs. These medications (in particular the older typical antipsychotics) block D2 dopamine receptors in multiple pathways in the brain.

The desired clinical effect of reducing psychotic symptoms is thought to be associated with blocking dopamine function in the mesolimbic pathway only. However, as many of these drugs are not selective, they block dopamine in all pathways. When this happens in the nigrostriatal pathway, similar movement problems to those found in Parkinson's disease can occur.


  • Other dopamine pathways 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Other dopamine pathways

Other major dopamine pathways include:

See also


  1. ^ Tritsch, NX; Ding, JB; Sabatini, BL (Oct 2012). "Dopaminergic neurons inhibit striatal output through non-canonical release of GABA". Nature 490 (7419): 262–6.  
  2. ^ Tecuapetla, F; Patel, JC; Xenias, H; English, D; Tadros, I; Shah, F; Berlin, J; Deisseroth, K; Rice, ME; Tepper, JM; Koos, T (May 2010). "Glutamatergic signaling by mesolimbic dopamine neurons in the nucleus accumbens". J Neurosci 30 (20): 7105–10.  
  3. ^ Diaz, Jaime. How Drugs Influence Behavior. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1996.

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