Direct Basal Ganglia Pathway

In the direct pathway, excitatory input from the cerebral cortex projects to striatal neurons in the caudate nucleus and putamen. Through disinhibition, activated inhibitory neurons in the striatum, which use -y- amino butyric acid (GABA) as their neurotransmitter, project to and inhibit additional GABA neurons in the internal segment of the globus pallidus.

The GABA axons of the internal segment of the globus pallidus project to the thalamus (VL). Because their input to the thalamus is disinhibited, the thalamic input excites the motor cortex. The net effect of the disinhibition in the direct pathway results in an increased Level of cortical excitation and the promotion of movement.

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