[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The A(2A)R has become a therapeutic target in Parkinson disease due to its functional role in the striatum, capable of modulating dopaminergic neurotransmission in the basal ganglia. No conclusive evidence, however, has been provided to demonstrate the existence of A(2A)Rs in the output nuclei of the basal ganglia: the internal segment of the globus pallidus (GPi) and substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr). Using immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization techniques we have confirmed the presence of A(2A)Rs in both the striatum (medium spiny and cholinergic neurons) and the external segment of the globus pallidus (GPe), in the monkey. The antibody routinely used to label A(2A)Rs failed to detect A(2A)R-positive neurons in the GPi and SNr, however, in situ hybridization showed that A(2A)R mRNA transcripts were indeed present in both these nuclei. Surprisingly, by labeling pallidothalamic and nigrothalamic projection neurons originating in the GPi and SNr with the neuronal retrograde tracer cholera toxin subunit B (CTB), the receptor protein was unmasked and detectable using the antibody. This unmasking of the protein was specific to CTB and not an artifact of the tracer. We have shown unequivocally that the A(2A)R is present in the output nuclei of the primate basal ganglia, however, to be able to detect the receptor immunohistochemically, unmasking the protein with CTB was necessary. The presence of A(2A)Rs in the GPi and SNr suggests that these output nuclei could be targeted therapeutically in Parkinson disease to restore abnormal activity in the basal ganglia.
Neurobiology of Disease 05/2012; 47(3):347-57. · 5.62 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: GABAergic neurons within the internal division of the globus pallidus (GPi) are the main source of basal ganglia output reaching the thalamic ventral nuclei in monkeys. Following dopaminergic denervation, pallidothalamic-projecting neurons are known to be hyperactive, whereas a reduction in GPi activity is typically observed in lesioned animals showing levodopa-induced dyskinesia. Besides the mRNAs coding for GABAergic markers (GAD65 and GAD67), we show that all GPi neurons innervating thalamic targets also express transcripts for the isoforms 1 and 2 of the vesicular glutamate transporter (vGlut1 and vGlut2 mRNA). Indeed, dual immunofluorescent detection of GAD67 and vGlut1/2 confirmed the data gathered from in situ hybridization experiments, therefore demonstrating that the detected mRNAs are translated into the related proteins. Furthermore, the dopaminergic lesion resulted in an up-regulation of expression levels for both GAD65 and GAD67 mRNA within identified pallidothalamic-projecting neurons. This was coupled with a down-regulation of GAD65/67 mRNA expression levels in GPi neurons innervating thalamic targets in monkeys showing levodopa-induced dyskinesia. By contrast, the patterns of gene expression for both vGlut1 and vGlut2 mRNAs remained unchanged across GPi projection neurons in control, MPTP-treated and dyskinetic monkeys. In summary, both GABAergic and glutamatergic markers were co-expressed by GPi efferent neurons in primates. Although the status of the dopaminergic system directly modulates the expression levels of GAD65/67 mRNA, the observed expression of vGlut1/2 mRNA is not regulated by either dopaminergic removal or by continuous stimulation with dopaminergic agonists.
Brain Structure and Function 04/2011; 216(4):371-86. · 7.84 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The tegmental pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) is a basal ganglia-related structure that has recently gained renewed interest as a potential surgical target for the treatment of several aspects of Parkinson's disease. However, the underlying anatomical substrates sustaining the choice of the PPN nucleus as a surgical candidate remain poorly understood. Here, we characterized the chemical phenotypes of different subtypes of PPN efferent neurons innervating the rat parafascicular (PF) nucleus. Emphasis was placed on elucidating the impact of unilateral nigrostriatal denervation on the expression patterns of the mRNA coding the vesicular glutamate transporter type 2 (vGlut2 mRNA). We found a bilateral projection from the PPN nucleus to the PF nucleus arising from cholinergic and glutamatergic efferent neurons, with a small fraction of projection neurons co-expressing both cholinergic and glutamatergic markers. Furthermore, the unilateral nigrostriatal depletion induced a bilateral twofold increase in the expression levels of vGlut2 mRNA within the PPN nucleus. Our results support the view that heterogeneous chemical profiles account for PPN efferent neurons innervating thalamic targets. Moreover, a bilateral enhancement of glutamatergic transmission arising from the PPN nucleus occurs following unilateral dopaminergic denervation, therefore sustaining the well-known hyperactivity of the PF nucleus in parkinsonian-like conditions. In conclusion, our data suggest that the ascending projections from the PPN that reach basal ganglia-related targets could play an important role in the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease.
Brain Structure and Function 04/2011; 216(4):319-30. · 7.84 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The putative presence of the cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB(2)-R) in the central nervous system is still a matter of debate. Although first described in peripheral and immune tissues, evidence suggesting the existence of CB(2)-Rs in glial cells and even neurons has been made available more recently. By taking advantage of newly designed CB(2)-R mRNA riboprobes, we have demonstrated by in situ hybridization and PCR the existence of CB2-R transcripts in a variety of brain areas of the primate Macaca fascicularis, including the cerebral cortex and the hippocampus, as well as in the external and internal divisions of the globus pallidus, both pallidal segments showing the highest abundance of CB(2)-R transcripts. In this regard, the presence of the messenger coding CB(2)-Rs within the pallidal complex highlights their consideration as potential targets for the treatment of movement disorders of basal ganglia origin.
Journal of Psychopharmacology 01/2011; 25(1):97-104. · 3.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The current basal ganglia model considers the internal division of the globus pallidus and the substantia nigra pars reticulata as the sole sources of basal ganglia output to the thalamus. However, following the delivery of retrograde tracers into the ventral anterior/ventral lateral thalamic nuclei, a moderate number of labeled neurons were found within the subthalamic nucleus (STN) in control cases, MPTP-treated monkeys and animals with levodopa-induced dyskinesias. Furthermore, dual tracing experiments showed that subthalamo-thalamic and subthalamo-pallidal projections arise from different subpopulations of STN efferent neurons. Moreover, upregulated expression of the mRNA coding the vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (vGlut2) was found in retrogradely-labeled STN neurons in MPTP-treated monkeys. By contrast, there is a reduction in vGlut2 mRNA expression in subthalamo-thalamic neurons in dyskinetic monkeys. In conclusion, our findings support the presence of a direct projection from the STN to the ventral thalamus that appears to be functionally modulated by dopaminergic activity.
Neurobiology of Disease 05/2010; 39(3):381-92. · 5.62 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most of our current understanding of brain circuits is based on hodological studies carried out using neuroanatomical tract-tracing. Our aim is to advance one step further by visualizing the functional correlate in a given circuit. In this regard, we believe it is feasible to combine retrograde tracing with fluorescence, non-radioactive in situ hybridization (ISH) protocols. The subsequent detection at the single-cell level of the expression of a given mRNA within retrograde-labeled neurons provides information regarding cellular function. This may be of particular interest when trying to elucidate the performance of brain circuits of interest in animal models of brain diseases. Several combinations of retrograde tracing with either single- and double-ISH are presented here, together with some criteria that influence the selection of the tracer to be used in conjunction with the strong demands of the ISH.
Journal of neuroscience methods 12/2009; 194(1):28-33. · 2.30 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The situation of the caudal intralaminar thalamic nuclei within basal ganglia circuits has gained increased attention over the past few years. Although initially considered as a "non-specific" thalamic nuclei, tract-tracing studies carried out over the past two decades have demonstrated that the centromedian-parafascicular thalamic complex (CM-Pf) is connected to virtually all basal ganglia components and related nuclei. Although the anatomical basis sustaining the thalamic modulation of basal ganglia circuits has long been characterized, the functional significance of these transverse circuits still remain to be properly accommodated within the basal ganglia model, both under normal conditions as well as in situations of dopaminergic depletion. However, the recent demonstration of primary (e.g., non-dopamine related) neurodegenerative phenomena restricted to the CM-Pf in Parkinson's disease (PD) has renewed interest in the role played by the caudal intralaminar nuclei in the pathophysiology of PD. Concomitantly, evidence has become available of increased metabolic activity in the caudal intralaminar nuclei in rodent models of PD. Finally, CM-Pf neurosurgery in patients suffering from PD has produced contrasting outcomes, indicating that a consensus is still to be reached regarding the potential usefulness of targeting the caudal intralaminar nuclei to treat movement disorders of basal ganglia origin.
Brain research bulletin 10/2008; 78(2-3):55-9. · 2.18 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: GABAergic projections emitted from the entopeduncular nucleus (ENT) and the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr) innervate different thalamic nuclei and they are known to be hyperactive after dopaminergic depletion. Here we show that isoform 2 of the vesicular glutamate transporter (VGLUT2) is expressed by neurons in the ENT nucleus but not in the SNr. Indeed, dual in situ hybridization demonstrated that the ENT nucleus contains two different subpopulations of projection neurons, one single-expressing GAD65/67 mRNAs and another one that co-expresses either of the GAD isoforms together with VGLUT2 mRNA. Unilateral dopaminergic depletion induced marked changes in pallidothalamic-projecting neuron gene expression, resulting in increased expression of GAD65/67 mRNAs together with a clear down-regulation of VGLUT2 mRNA expression. Our results indicate that the increased thalamic inhibition typical of dopamine depletion might be explained by a synergistic effect of increased GABA outflow coupled to decreased glutamate levels, both neurotransmitters coming from ENT neurons.
Neurobiology of Disease 07/2008; 31(3):422-32. · 5.62 Impact Factor