Pathophysiology of the basal ganglia and movement disorders: From animal models to human clinical applications

Zvi Israel, Hagai Bergman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Electrophysiological studies in control and MPTP treated primates have played a major role in our understanding of the physiology of the basal ganglia and the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease (PD). Early models emphasized discharge rate and viewed the basal ganglia as a network of boxes (nuclei) connected by excitatory or inhibitory connections. More recent studies view the basal ganglia as neural networks with weak and non-linear interactions in and between the different nuclei. Microelectrode electrophysiological recording enables the high resolution-both in the temporal domain (spike) and the spatial domain (neuron)-required for the in vivo investigation of neuronal networks of the basal ganglia. MPTP treated primates exhibit the full pathological and clinical spectrum of human Parkinsonism and therefore their electrophysiological study has promoted better understanding of the normal state, the dopamine-depleted state, and finally the testing of potential therapeutic interventions for PD. Here, we review the main insights learned from microelectrode physiological studies of MPTP monkeys over the last 20 years since the introduction of this animal model.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)367-377
Number of pages11
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Hebrew-University Basal Ganglia Research Group for sharing their data and ideas with us. This study was partly supported by a Center of Excellence grant administered by the ISF and by HUNA's “fighting against Parkinson” grant.


  • DBS
  • MPTP
  • Neural network
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Primate


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