The basal ganglia can be viewed as modulators of motor function. They are composed of several brain regions, including the neostriatum and the substantia ni-gra (Fig. 31.1). The neostriatum receives massive excitatory input from the cortex that is mediated by neurons that use glutamate as the neurotransmitter. The dopamine neurons originate in the substantia nigra pars compacta and project to the neostriatum, where they synapse on the input glutamatergic terminals and on striatal projection neurons that use the neurotransmit-ter 7-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
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