The basal ganglia network is represented by an interconnected group of subcortical nuclei traditionally thought to play a crucial role in motor learning and movement execution. During the last decades, knowledge about basal ganglia physiology significantly evolved and this network is now considered as a key regulator of important cognitive and emotional processes. Accordingly, the disruption of basal ganglia network dynamics represents a crucial pathogenic factor in many neurological and psychiatric disorders. The striatum is the input station of the circuit. Thanks to the synaptic properties of striatal medium spiny neurons (MSNs) and their ability to express synaptic plasticity, the striatum exerts a fundamental integrative and filtering role in the basal ganglia network, influencing the functional output of the whole circuit. Although it is currently established that the immune system is able to regulate neuronal transmission and plasticity in specific cortical areas, the role played by immune molecules and immune/glial cells in the modulation of intra-striatal connections and basal ganglia activity still needs to be clarified. In this manuscript, we review the available evidence of immune-based regulation of synaptic activity in the striatum, also discussing how an abnormal immune activation in this region could be involved in the pathogenesis of inflammatory and degenerative central nervous system (CNS) diseases.
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