Involuntary movements (dyskinesia) are a common symptom of dopamine-replacement therapy in parkinsonian patients, neuroleptic drug treatment of mental patients, and tic disorders. Levodopa-induced dyskinesia has been shown to be associated with substantial reduction of firing rate in the internal part of the globus pallidus. This study characterizes the changes that occur in the activity of the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr) of non-parkinsonian (normal) monkeys with apomorphine (APO)-induced orofacial dyskinesia. We conducted extracellular recordings of SNr neurons of two monkeys before and after induction of orofacial dyskinesia by systemic administration of APO. Involuntary orofacial movements appeared a few minutes after the injections and lasted 20-40 min. Almost all recorded neurons changed their firing rate after APO injection (96%), and most declined (70%). The mean amplitude of decreases was also larger than that of increases (40 vs. 21% of the control rate). Changes in firing pattern were not significant on average. Pairs of SNr neurons were uncorrelated before APO injection, similar to the normal pallidum. However, unlike the increased correlations in the pallidum that accompany parkinsonism, orofacilal dyskinesia in non-parkinsonian monkeys was not associated with changes in correlation between SNr neurons. We conclude that normal monkeys treated with APO can model orofacial dyskinesia and tic disorders that are a consequence of dopaminergic over-activity. These symptoms appear to be more related to reduced firing rate of SNr neurons and thus to disinhibition of their targets, than to changes in pattern and synchronization.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuroscience (all)