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striatum

Tuesday 14 April 2009

The striatum (also see corpus striatum) is a subcortical (i.e. inside, rather than on the outside) part of the telencephalon/cerebrum. It is the major input station of the basal ganglia system. Anatomically, the striatum is the caudate nucleus and the putamen.

Function

The striatum is best known for its role in the planning and modulation of movement pathways but is also involved in a variety of other cognitive processes involving executive function.

In humans the striatum is activated by stimuli associated with reward, but also by aversive, novel, unexpected or intense stimuli, and cues associated with such events.

Metabotropic dopamine receptors are present both on spiny neurons and on cortical axon terminals. Second messenger cascades triggered by activation of these dopamine receptors can modulate pre- and postsynaptic function, both in the short term and in the long term.