In the recent past, evidence accumulated in favour of a central role of group I metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors, mGlu1 and mGlu5, in the modulation of cell excitability both of striatal medium spiny projection neurons (MSNs) and interneuronal population. Electrophysiological and pharmacological studies have clearly shown that activation of mGlu1 and mGlu5 receptors exerts distinct actions, depending on the neuronal subtype involved. MGlu5 receptor activation mediates the potentiation of NMDA responses in MSNs, and underlies the retrograde inhibitory signaling by endocannabinoids at corticostriatal synapses. Conversely, both group I mGlu receptors are involved in long-term synaptic plasticity of MSNs. Likewise, either mGlu1 or mGlu5 receptors are engaged in shaping the excitability of large cholinergic interneurons, playing different roles in the membrane responses. Differently, although GABAergic parvalbumin-positive, fast-spiking interneurons have been shown to express both group I receptors, only mGlu1 receptor seems to mediate membrane and synaptic responses. This review provides a brief survey of the cellular and synaptic actions of group I mGlu receptors, and discusses the potential relevance of these findings in neostriatal function and motor control.
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