The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







The striatum is a subcortical part of the brain consisting of the caudate nucleus and the putamen. It is part of the basal ganglia. 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.

The striatum consists mainly of GABAergic medium spiny neurons , but medium aspiny neurons and large aspiny neurons can also be found along with cholinergic interneurons.

In humans the striatum is activated in the presence of stimuli associated with reward, but also in the presence of aversive, novel, unexpected or intense stimuli, and cues associated with such events. Recent fMRI evidence suggests that the common property linking these stimuli, to which the striatum is reacting, is saliency under the conditions of presentation. A number of other brain areas and circuits are also related to reward, including the nucleus accumbens and other frontal areas.

The striatum connects to the substantia nigra via the nigrostriatal pathway.

External links


  • Zink, C. F., Pagnoni, G., Martin-Skurski, M. E., Chappelow, J. C., & Berns, G. S (2004). Human striatal responses to monetary reward depend on saliency. Neuron, 42, 509-517.
Last updated: 06-01-2005 20:46:41
Last updated: 08-29-2005 13:37:24