Absence of the dopamine D2 receptor leads to a decreased expression of GDNF and NT-4 mRNAs in restricted brain areas

Authors

  • Yuri Bozzi,

    1. Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, CNRS/INSERM/ULP, BP163, 67404 Illkirch Cedex, C. U. de Strasbourg, France
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  • Emiliana Borrelli

    1. Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, CNRS/INSERM/ULP, BP163, 67404 Illkirch Cedex, C. U. de Strasbourg, France
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Dr E. Borrelli, as above. E-mail: eb@titus.u-strasbg.fr

Abstract

Neurotrophic factors (NTFs) control the metabolic and electrophysiological properties of dopaminergic neurons in the brain. At the level of the substantia nigra, NTFs have been proposed to control dopamine release by regulating the firing rate of dopaminergic cells. This function is normally controlled by presynaptic dopaminergic autoreceptors. Dopamine has also been proposed to regulate the expression of NTFs and their receptors in the nigrostriatal pathway. Thus, an interaction between the signalling cascades activated by NTFs and dopamine receptors might possibly influence the physiology of dopaminergic neurons. Among dopamine receptors, D2 receptors (D2R) are the most abundant on dopaminergic neurons, where they exert autoreceptor functions. To test for an interaction between the NTF and dopaminergic pathways we have analysed the expression of NTFs and their receptors in D2R-deficient (D2R –/–) mice. Our study shows that the mRNA levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), neurotrophin-3 and their corresponding receptors are not modified in the dopaminergic system of D2R –/– adult mice compared with wild-type littermates. However, a marked reduction of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and neurotrophin-4 (NT-4) mRNAs is observed in the striatum and parietal cortex of D2R –/– mice, respectively. These results implicate dopamine, acting through D2 receptors, in the local control of specific NTF expression. The down-regulation of GDNF and NT-4 expression might also contribute to the locomotor phenotype of D2R –/– mice.

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