Motor Pathways, Basal Ganglia Physiology, and Pathophysiology

Hagai Bergman*, Shiran Katabi, Maya Slovik, Marc Deffains, David Arkadir, Zvi Israel, Renana Eitan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The main axis of the basal ganglia (BG) connects the thalamocortical networks to the BG input stages (striatum and subthalamic nucleus) and continues through the BG output stages (internal segment of the globus pallidus and the substantia nigra reticulata) to the cortical and subcortical motor centers. This chapter reviews the unique anatomical and physiological features of the BG network and argues that they support the main computational goal of the BG, namely, a behavioral policy that maximizes future cumulative gains and minimizes costs. The BG critics differentially modulate both the excitability of striatal neurons and the efficacy of the corticostriatal synapses, enabling instantaneous optimal tradeoffs between exploratory and exploitative behavior and long-term learning of optimal behavioral policy (state-to-action associations). The multiobjective optimization model provides insights into the role of the nondopaminergic critics in the BG physiology and pathophysiology (e.g. dopamine-acetylcholine motor balance and serotonin-related depression in Parkinson's disease).

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationBrain Stimulation
Subtitle of host publicationMethodologies and Interventions
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781118568323
ISBN (Print)9781118568293
StatePublished - 5 Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 by Wiley-Blackwell. All rights reserved.


  • Basal ganglia (BG) physiology
  • Multiobjective optimization model
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Pathophysiology


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