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The mammalian striatum has a topographical organization of input-output connectivity, but a complex internal, nonlaminar neuronal architecture comprising projection neurons of two types interspersed among multiple interneuron types and potential local neuromodulators. From this cellular melange arises a biochemical compartmentalization of areas termed striosomes and extrastriosomal matrix. The functions of these compartments are poorly understood but might confer distinct features to striatal signal processing and be discretely governed. Dopamine transmission occurs throughout striosomes and matrix, and is reported to be modulated by the striosomally enriched neuromodulator substance P. However, reported effects are conflicting, ranging from facilitation to inhibition. We addressed whether dopamine transmission is modulated differently in striosome-matrix compartments by substance P.We paired detection of evoked dopamine release at carbon-fiber microelectrodes in mouse striatal slices with subsequent identification of the location of recording sites with respect to μ-opioid receptor-rich striosomes. Substance P had bidirectional effects on dopamine release that varied between recording sites and were prevented by inhibition of neurokinin-1 receptors. The direction of modulation was determined by location within the striosomal-matrix axis: dopamine release was boosted in striosome centers, diminished in striosomal-matrix border regions, and unaffected in the matrix. In turn, this different weighting of dopamine transmission by substance P modified the apparent center-surround contrast of striosomal dopamine signals. These data reveal that dopamine transmission can be differentially modulated within the striosomal-matrix axis, and furthermore, indicate a functionally distinct zone at the striosome-matrix interface, which may have key impacts on striatal integration.

Original publication




Journal article


J Neurosci

Publication Date





9017 - 9023


NK1 receptors, dopamine, striatum, striosomes, substance P, voltammetry, Animals, Corpus Striatum, Dopamine, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Organ Culture Techniques, Substance P, Synaptic Transmission