Recent discoveries of striatal GABAergic interneurons require a new conceptualization of the organization of intrastriatal circuitry and their cortical and thalamic inputs. We investigated thalamic inputs to the two populations of striatal neuropeptide Y (NPY) interneurons, plateau low threshold spike (PLTS) and NPY-neurogliaform (NGF) cells. Optogenetic activation of parafascicular inputs evokes suprathreshold monosynaptic glutamatergic excitation in NGF interneurons and a disynaptic, nicotinic excitation through cholinergic interneurons. In contrast, the predominant response of PLTS interneurons is a disynaptic inhibition dependent on thalamic activation of striatal tyrosine hydroxylase interneurons (THINs). In contrast, THINs do not innervate NGF or fast spiking interneurons, showing significant specificity in THINs outputs. Chemospecific ablation of THINs impairs prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle response suggesting an important behavioural role of this disynaptic pathway. Our findings demonstrate that the impact of the parafascicular nucleus on striatal activity and some related behaviour critically depend on synaptic interactions within interneuronal circuits.
The responses of striatal GABAergic interneurons to thalamic inputs are not well characterised. Here, the authors demonstrate that complex intrastriatal circuitry is responsible for thalamic-evoked monosynaptic and disynaptic excitation in NPY-NGF interneurons but a disynaptic inhibition in the NPY-PLTS.