Trends Neurosci. 2007 May;30(5):228-35. Epub 2007 Apr 3.
Dopamine shapes a wide variety of psychomotor functions. This is mainly accomplished by modulating cortical and thalamic glutamatergic signals impinging upon principal medium spiny neurons (MSNs) of the striatum.
Several lines of evidence suggest that dopamine D1 receptor signaling enhances dendritic excitability and glutamatergic signaling in striatonigral MSNs, whereas D2 receptor signaling exerts the opposite effect in striatopallidal MSNs. The functional antagonism between these two major striatal dopamine receptors extends to the regulation of synaptic plasticity.
Recent studies, using transgenic mice in which cells express D1 and D2 receptors, have uncovered unappreciated differences between MSNs that shape glutamatergic signaling and the influence of DA on synaptic plasticity. These studies have also shown that long-term alterations in dopamine signaling produce profound and cell-type-specific reshaping of corticostriatal connectivity and function.