Differential regulation of somatodendritic and nerve terminal dopamine release by serotonergic innervation of substantia nigra


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Elizabeth D. Abercrombie, PhD, 197 University Avenue, Newark, NJ 07102, USA. E-mail: abercrombie@axon.rutgers.edu


Nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons release dopamine from dendrites in substantia nigra and axon terminals in striatum. The cellular mechanisms for somatodendritic and axonal dopamine release are similar, but somatodendritic and nerve terminal dopamine release may not always occur in parallel. The current studies used in vivo microdialysis to simultaneously measure changes in dendritic and nerve terminal dopamine efflux in substantia nigra and ipsilateral striatum respectively, following intranigral application of various drugs by reverse dialysis through the nigral probe. The serotonin releasers (+/–)-fenfluramine (100 µm) and (+)-fenfluramine (100 µm) significantly increased dendritic dopamine efflux without affecting extracellular dopamine in striatum. The non-selective serotonin receptor agonist 1-(m-chlorophenyl)-piperazine (100 µm) elicited a similar pattern of dopamine release in substantia nigra and striatum. NMDA (33 µm) produced an increase in nigral dopamine of a similar magnitude to mCPP or either fenfluramine drug. However, NMDA also induced a concurrent increase in striatal dopamine. The D2 agonist quinpirole (100 µm) had a parallel inhibitory effect on dopamine release from dendritic and terminal sites as well. Taken together, these data suggest that serotonergic afferents to substantia nigra may evoke dendritic dopamine release through a mechanism that is uncoupled from the impulse-dependent control of nerve terminal dopamine release.