Distinct gradients of various neurotransmitter markers in caudate nucleus and putamen of the human brain.
ABSTRACT: The caudate nucleus (CN) and the putamen (PUT) as parts of the human striatum are distinguished by a marked heterogeneity in functional, anatomical, and neurochemical patterns. Our study aimed to document in detail the regional diversity in the distribution of dopamine (DA), serotonin, γ-aminobuturic acid, and choline acetyltransferase within the CN and PUT. For this purpose we dissected the CN as well as the PUT of 12 post-mortem brains of human subjects with no evidence of neurological and psychiatric disorders (38-81 years old) into about 80 tissue parts. We then investigated rostro-caudal, dorso-ventral, and medio-lateral gradients of these neurotransmitter markers. All parameters revealed higher levels, turnover rates, or activities in the PUT than in the CN. Within the PUT, DA levels increased continuously from rostral to caudal. In contrast, the lowest molar ratio of homovanillic acid to DA, a marker of DA turnover, coincided with highest DA levels in the caudal PUT, the part of the striatum with the highest loss of DA in Parkinson's disease (N. Engl. J. Med., 318, 1988, 876). Highest DA concentrations were found in the most central areas both in the PUT and CN. We observed an age-dependent loss of DA in the PUT and CN that did not correspond to the loss described for Parkinson's disease indicating different mechanisms inducing the deficit of DA. Our data demonstrate a marked heterogeneity in the anatomical distribution of neurotransmitter markers in the human dorsal striatum indicating anatomical and functional diversity within this brain structure.
Project description:SUMMARY Dopamine (DA) neurons in the ventral tier of the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) degenerate prominently in Parkinson’s disease, while those in the dorsal tier are relatively spared. Defining the molecular, functional, and developmental characteristics of each SNc tier is crucial to understand their distinct susceptibility. We demonstrate that Sox6 expression distinguishes ventrally and dorsally biased DA neuron populations in the SNc. The Sox6+ population in the ventral SNc includes an Aldh1a1+ subset and is enriched in gene pathways that underpin vulnerability. Sox6+ neurons project to the dorsal striatum and show activity correlated with acceleration. Sox6− neurons project to the medial, ventral, and caudal striatum and respond to rewards. Moreover, we show that this adult division is encoded early in development. Overall, our work demonstrates a dual origin of the SNc that results in DA neuron cohorts with distinct molecular profiles, projections, and functions. Graphical Abstract In brief In this study, Pereira Luppi et al. refine the landscape of midbrain dopamine neurons through Sox6 lineage analysis to shed light on dorsal and ventral substantia nigra pars compacta from molecular, anatomical, functional, and developmental perspectives.
Project description:In Parkinson's disease (PD), aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) is the rate-limiting enzyme in the conversion of L-DOPA (Sinemet) to dopamine (DA). Previous studies in PD animal models demonstrated that lesion of dopaminergic neurons is associated with profound loss of AADC activity in the striatum, blocking efficient conversion of L-DOPA to DA. Relatively few studies have directly analyzed AADC in PD brains. Thus, the aim of this study was to gain a better understanding of regional changes in AADC activity, DA, serotonin and their monoamine metabolites in the striatum of PD patients and experimentally lesioned animals (rat and MPTP-treated nonhuman primate, NHP). Striatal AADC activity was determined post mortem in neuropathologically confirmed PD subjects, animal models and controls. A regional analysis was performed for striatal AADC activity and monoamine levels in NHP tissue. Interestingly, analysis of putaminal AADC activity revealed that control human striatum contained much less AADC activity than rat and NHP striata. Moreover, a dramatic loss of AADC activity in PD striatum compared to controls was detected. In MPTP-treated NHP, caudate nucleus was almost as greatly affected as putamen, although mean DA turnover was higher in caudate nucleus. Similarly, DA and DA metabolites were dramatically reduced in different regions of PD brains, including caudate nucleus, whereas serotonin was relatively spared. After L-DOPA administration in MPTP-treated NHP, very poor conversion to DA was detected, suggesting that AADC in NHP nigrostriatal fibers is mainly responsible for L-DOPA to DA conversion. These data support further the rationale behind viral gene therapy with AAV2-hAADC to restore AADC levels in putamen and suggest further the advisability of expanding vector delivery to include coverage of anterior putamen and the caudate nucleus.
Project description:The MitoPark mouse, in which the mitochondrial transcription factor Tfam is selectively removed in midbrain dopamine (DA) neurons, is a genetic model for Parkinson's disease (PD) that replicates the slow and progressive development of key symptoms. To further validate this model, we have extended both behavioral and biochemical analyses in these animals. We found that vertical movements decline earlier and faster than horizontal movements, possibly modeling the early occurrence of axial, postural instability in PD. L-DOPA induces different locomotor responses depending on the age: in young MitoPark mice the L-DOPA-induced motor activation is small; middle-aged MitoPark mice respond in a dose-dependent manner to L-DOPA, whereas aged MitoPark mice display a double-peaked locomotor response to a high dose of L-DOPA that includes an intermittent period of very low motor activity, similar to the 'on-off' phenomenon in PD. To correlate behavior with biochemical data, we analyzed monoamine levels in three different brain areas that are highly innervated by the DA system: striatum, anterior cortex and olfactory bulb. DA levels declined earlier and faster in striatum than in cortex; only at the latest time-point analyzed, DA levels were found to be significantly lower than control levels in the olfactory bulb. Interestingly, the ratio between homovanillic acid (HVA) and DA differed between regions over time. In striatum and olfactory bulb, the ratio increased steeply indicating increased DA turnover. In contrast, the ratio decreased over time in cortex, revealing important differences between