The main goals of our research are to understand the functional organization of the basal ganglia and limbic system (and their target structures) at the circuit level. This is important for understanding the pathophysiologies of – and possible therapies for – diseases like Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease (abbreviated as HD), as well as stress related emotional pathologies such as anxiety.
Although the primary deficit in human HD is cortico-striatal, striatal output affects directly or indirectly all of the neurons downstream in the basal ganglia. The best way to see these changes is in an intact network, the basal ganglia in vivo. Thus we perform extracellular single-unit recordings from identified GP, SNr and STN neurons in HD mice.
Dopminergic dysfunction is thought to play a role in the motoric symptoms of HD. We use in-vivo microdialysis to measure extracellular levels of dopamine and its metabolites, as well as acetylcholine in the basal ganglia of HD mice.