A Dopaminergic Axon Lattice in the Striatum and Its Relationship with Cortical and Thalamic Terminals

Medical Research Council Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit, Department of Pharmacology, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.34). 10/2008; 28(44):11221-30. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2780-08.2008
Source: PubMed


Interactions between glutamatergic corticostriatal afferents and dopaminergic nigrostriatal afferents are central to basal ganglia function. The thalamostriatal projection provides a glutamatergic innervation of similar magnitude to the corticostriatal projection. We tested the hypotheses that (1) thalamostriatal synapses have similar spatial relationships with dopaminergic axons as corticostriatal synapses do and (2) the spatial relationships between excitatory synapses and dopaminergic axons are selective associations. We examined at the electron microscopic level rat striatum immunolabeled to reveal vesicular glutamate transporters (VGluTs) 1 and 2, markers of corticostriatal and thalamostriatal terminals, respectively, together with tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) to reveal dopaminergic axons. Over 80% of VGluT-positive synapses were within 1 microm of a TH-positive axon and >40% were within 1 microm of a TH-positive synapse. Of structures postsynaptic to VGluT1- or VGluT2-positive terminals, 21 and 27%, respectively, were apposed by a TH-positive axon and about half of these made synaptic contact. When structures postsynaptic to VGluT-positive terminals and VGluT-positive terminals themselves were normalized for length of plasma membrane, the probability of them being apposed by, or in synaptic contact with, a TH-positive axon was similar to that of randomly selected structures. Extrapolation of the experimental data to more closely reflect the distribution in 3D reveals that all structures in the striatum are within approximately 1 microm of a TH-positive synapse. We conclude that (1) thalamostriatal synapses are in a position to be influenced by released dopamine to a similar degree as corticostriatal synapses are and (2) these associations arise from a nonselective dopaminergic axon lattice.

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    • "synaptosomes (Smith et al., 1994; Moss and Bolam, 2008; Lehéricy et al., 2012). ST synaptosomes have been reported to be predominately comprised of pre-synaptic NSDA axon terminals (Barrett et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: A pathological hallmark of Parkinson disease (PD) is progressive degeneration of nigrostriatal dopamine (NSDA) neurons, which underlies the motor symptoms of PD. While there is severe loss of midbrain NSDA neurons, tuberoinfundibular (TI) DA neurons in the mediobasal hypothalamus (MBH) remain intact. In the present study, confocal microscopic analysis revealed that mitochondrial content and numbers of mitophagosomes were lower in NSDA neuronal cell bodies in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) compared to TIDA neuronal cell bodies in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) of C57BL/6J male mice. Mitochondrial respiration, mass, membrane potential and morphology were determined using bioenergetic, flow cytometric and transmission electron microscopic analyses of synaptosomes isolated from discrete brain regions containing axon terminals of NSDA and TIDA neurons. Maximum and spare respiratory capacities, and mitochondrial mass were lower in synaptosomal mitochondria derived from the striatum (ST) as compared with the MBH, which correlated with lower numbers of mitochondria per synaptosome in these brain regions. In contrast, there was no regional difference in mitochondrial basal, maximum or spare respirations following inhibition of Complex I activity with rotenone. These results reveal that higher numbers of viable mitochondria are correlated with more extensive autophagic mitochondrial quality maintenance in TIDA neurons as compared with NSDA neurons. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Brain research 06/2015; 1622. DOI:10.1016/j.brainres.2015.06.030 · 2.84 Impact Factor
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    • "However, in contrast to the traditional view of inter-neuronal chemical excitatory synaptic transmission in which structural and functional specializations are observed at the postsynaptic domains, striatal dopaminergic transmission does not always require such level of postsynaptic structural specialization (Rice and Cragg, 2008; Fuxe et al., 2012). Instead, release occurs in a diffuse manner, DA receptors are extrasynaptic and ultrastructural studies on the extension and density of DA neuron axonal arborization in the striatum point to broad, intricate projections that cover vast areas (Pickel et al., 1981; Smith et al., 1994; Moss and Bolam, 2008; Matsuda et al., 2009). This diffusely spread mode of transmission (in contrast to localized, highly spatially restricted communication), is termed “volume transmission”, and is a feature of a number of transmitters such as acetylcholine, norepinephrine, DA and serotonin (Taber and Hurley, 2014). "
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    ABSTRACT: The mesolimbic and nigrostriatal dopamine (DA) systems play a key role in the physiology of reward seeking, motivation and motor control. Importantly, they are also involved in the pathophysiology of Parkinson's and Huntington's disease, schizophrenia and addiction. Control of DA release in the striatum is tightly linked to firing of DA neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and the substantia nigra (SN). However, local influences in the striatum affect release by exerting their action directly on axon terminals. For example, endogenous glutamatergic and cholinergic activity is sufficient to trigger striatal DA release independently of cell body firing. Recent developments involving genetic manipulation, pharmacological selectivity or selective stimulation have allowed for better characterization of these phenomena. Such termino-terminal forms of control of DA release transform considerably our understanding of the mesolimbic and nigrostriatal systems, and have strong implications as potential mechanisms to modify impaired control of DA release in the diseased brain. Here, we review these and related mechanisms and their implications in the physiology of ascending DA systems.
    Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 05/2014; 8:188. DOI:10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00188 · 3.27 Impact Factor
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    • "The post-synaptic cortical-induced excitatory responses are modulated by dopamine acting through a wide variety of pre-and/or post-synaptic mechanisms dependent on the type and localization of dopamine receptors and the physiological state of striatal MSNs (Gonon, 1997; Reynolds et al., 2001; Cragg and Rice, 2004; Surmeier et al., 2007; Rice and Cragg, 2008; Ma et al., 2012). Although the regulatory effects of dopamine on thalamic glutamatergic transmission have not been directly assessed, the similarity between the overall pattern of synaptic connectivity of non-CM/Pf thalamic and cortical terminals with MSNs (Moss and Bolam, 2008) suggests that these two pathways may be regulated in the same manner by nigrostriatal dopamine afferents (Figure 1). The dopaminergic modulation of corticostriatal transmission relies in part on the synaptic convergence of dopaminergic and cortical synapses on individual spines of striatal MSNs (Freund et al., 1984; Bolam and Smith, 1990; Smith et al., 1994) and/or pre-synaptic dopamine-mediated regulation of glutamate release from neighboring cortical terminals (Surmeier et al., 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Because of our limited knowledge of the functional role of the thalamostriatal system, this massive network is often ignored in models of the pathophysiology of brain disorders of basal ganglia origin, such as Parkinson's disease (PD). However, over the past decade, significant advances have led to a deeper understanding of the anatomical, electrophysiological, behavioral and pathological aspects of the thalamostriatal system. The cloning of the vesicular glutamate transporters 1 and 2 (vGluT1 and vGluT2) has provided powerful tools to differentiate thalamostriatal from corticostriatal glutamatergic terminals, allowing us to carry out comparative studies of the synaptology and plasticity of these two systems in normal and pathological conditions. Findings from these studies have led to the recognition of two thalamostriatal systems, based on their differential origin from the caudal intralaminar nuclear group, the center median/parafascicular (CM/Pf) complex, or other thalamic nuclei. The recent use of optogenetic methods supports this model of the organization of the thalamostriatal systems, showing differences in functionality and glutamate receptor localization at thalamostriatal synapses from Pf and other thalamic nuclei. At the functional level, evidence largely gathered from thalamic recordings in awake monkeys strongly suggests that the thalamostriatal system from the CM/Pf is involved in regulating alertness and switching behaviors. Importantly, there is evidence that the caudal intralaminar nuclei and their axonal projections to the striatum partly degenerate in PD and that CM/Pf deep brain stimulation (DBS) may be therapeutically useful in several movement disorders.
    Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience 01/2014; 8:5. DOI:10.3389/fnsys.2014.00005
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