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Kelvin C. Luk, Vladimir V. Rymar, Pepijn van den Munckhof, Stefan Nicolau, Claude Steriade, Panojot Bifsha, Jacques Drouin and Abbas F. Sadikot The transcription factor Pitx3 is expressed selectively in midbrain dopaminergic neurons susceptible to neurodegenerative stress Journal of Neurochemistry 125

Article first published online: 6 MAR 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/jnc.12160

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We demonstrate distinct subpopulations of midbrain dopaminergic neurons based on their requirement for the transcription factor Pitx3. Calbindin-D28k-positive dopaminergic neurons are preserved in Pitx3 hypomorphic mice and show resistance to 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine-induced injury. In contrast, Pitx3-dependent neurons are susceptible to toxic stress, and this vulnerability is augmented upon reduced Pitx3 expression. These data suggest a potential link between Pitx3 and differential vulnerability of dopaminergic populations involved in Parkinson's disease.

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