A.G.D. and G.A.C.M contributed equally to this work.
Functional properties of dopamine neurons and co-expression of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide in the dorsal raphe nucleus and ventro-lateral periaqueductal grey
Article first published online: 26 AUG 2012
© 2012 The Authors. European Journal of Neuroscience © 2012 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd
European Journal of Neuroscience
Volume 36, Issue 10, pages 3322–3332, November 2012
How to Cite
Dougalis, A. G., Matthews, G. A. C., Bishop, M. W., Brischoux, F., Kobayashi, K. and Ungless, M. A. (2012), Functional properties of dopamine neurons and co-expression of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide in the dorsal raphe nucleus and ventro-lateral periaqueductal grey. European Journal of Neuroscience, 36: 3322–3332. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2012.08255.x
- Issue published online: 19 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 26 AUG 2012
- Received 9 December 2011, revised 13 July 2012, accepted 16 July 2012
- ventral tegmental area
The dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) and ventrolateral periaqueductal grey (vlPAG) regions contain populations of dopamine neurons, often considered to be a dorsal caudal extension of the A10 group [mostly found in the ventral tegmental area (VTA)]. Recent studies suggest they are involved in promoting wakefulness and mediate some of the antinociceptive and rewarding properties of opiates. However, little is known about their electrophysiological properties. To address this, we used Pitx3-GFP and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-GFP mice to carry out targeted whole-cell recordings from this population in acute brain slices. We found that DRN/vlPAG dopamine neurons have characteristics similar to most VTA dopamine neurons, but distinct from dorsal raphe serotonin neurons. They fire broad action potentials at a relatively slow, regular rate, exhibit a hyperpolarization-activated inward current and delayed repolarization, and show spike-frequency adaptation in response to prolonged depolarization. In addition, they receive fast excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs. Moreover, we found co-expression of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide in small, periaqueductal dopamine neurons, but generally not in larger, more ventral dopamine neurons.