The ventral pallidum (VP) is a part of the ventral striatopallidal system and is involved in reward-related behaviors. The VP is composed of a ventromedial (VPvm) and a dorsolateral (VPdl) subregion, and some rostral-caudal differences are reported. Study of the VP often focuses on the subcommissural VP, typically considered homogenous in spite of known subdivisions. In this work, we used slice electrophysiology combined with immunohistochemistry for marker neuropeptides to test whether the subcommissural VP is functionally homogenous. Using sagittal slices, we show that more lateral levels (2.40 mm) of the subcommissural VP are homogenous but that a more medial slice (1.90 mm) contains two types of neurons. One type, located more caudally, resembles neurons in the lateral subcommissural VP, with long aspiny dendrites, primarily GABAergic input, and characteristic electrophysiological properties, such as depolarized membrane potential and spontaneous action potential discharge. The second type of neuron, located mostly in the rostral subcommissural VP, shows properties that are akin to medium spiny neurons of adjacent regions, including spiny dendrites, major glutamatergic input, hyperpolarized membrane potential, and no spontaneous action potentials. The two types of neurons were present in both the VPvm and VPdl, implying that the mix is not a characteristic of histologically defined subregions. We conclude that at medial levels the rostral subcommissural VP contains a mix of typical ventral pallidal neurons and spiny neurons similar to those in adjacent regions. This observation needs to be considered when interpreting past experiments and designing future experiments in the subcommissural VP.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to thank Rachel Smith for assistance with enkephalin immunostaining. This work was supported by USPHA grants DA015369, DA012513, DA003906, and by the Neuroscience Institute, Medical University of South Carolina.
- Extended amygdala
- Nucleus accumbens
- Ventral pallidum