Corticofugal projection inhibits the auditory thalamus through the thalamic reticular nucleus

Zhuo Zhang, Chun-Hua Liu, Yan-Qin Yu, Kenji Fujimoto, Ying-Shing Chan, Jufang He
Journal of Neurophysiology 2008, 99 (6): 2938-45
Electrical stimulation of the auditory cortex (AC) causes both facilitatory and inhibitory effects on the medial geniculate body (MGB). The purpose of this study was to identify the corticofugal inhibitory pathway to the MGB. We assessed two potential circuits: 1) the cortico-colliculo-thalamic circuit and 2) cortico-reticulo-thalamic one. We compared intracellular responses of MGB neurons to electrical stimulation of the AC following bilateral ablation of the inferior colliculi (IC) or thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) in anesthetized guinea pigs. Cortical stimulation with intact TRN could cause strong inhibitory effects on the MGB neurons. The corticofugal inhibition remained effective after bilateral IC ablation, but it was minimized after the TRN was lesioned with kainic acid. Synchronized TRN neuronal activity and MGB inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) were observed with multiple recordings. The results suggest that corticofugal inhibition traverses the corticoreticulothalamic pathway, indicating that the colliculi-geniculate inhibitory pathway is probably only for feedforward inhibition.

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